Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts

First Advisor

Dr Michael Campanelli


This research develops an historical and psychological context for the phenomenon of Art Therapy. It addresses the larger context within which Art Therapy developed, which has not usually been considered by researchers in the Art Therapy field. Using a Jungian framework, this psychohistorical thesis analyses cultural trends, in the fields of painting, mental health, religion, world events, science and philosophy, for revelation of psychological content pertinent to the conditions generally favourable for the emergence of the Art Therapy field. A complex understanding of the world leading up to Art Therapy's emergence is, therefore, presented. What was found in this study was a consistent split in all areas of thought one area focused on rationality and objectively verifiable truth, and the other area focused on subjectivity and the realm of the feelings. Those areas that value the former are traditionally the dominant modes of thought in western civilisation. The latter seems to be repressed and pushed into the dominant's shadow. There was also a general trend to the disintegration of the old symbologies across even those who seem to oppose each other in other matters. In this context, Art Therapy is understood as being associated with the child archetype which seeks to join the opposites, of rationality and subjectivity, and create new meaning in life. Art Therapy is also observed as being a phenomenon developing from the more subjective side of history and allowing people to develop those subjective aspects of themselves which are usually shut off, or only partially developed.