Cognitive Pearl #057 Adar 27, 5775 March 18, 15

With all of my ramblings about the cognitive experience of art and aesthetics, let’s get back to tachlis: how can art and aesthetics be integrated into our work as cognitive therapists. In my experience there are at least two uses: art and aesthetics as ‘windows’ into the inner world and social milieu of the client and as mediums for intervention.

Let’s consider the ‘window’ dimension first: artistic preferences tells us about what the client considers important. A poster of an athlete in a young boy’s room or as the desktop photo of a phone tells us a great deal: who or what they admire, what others allow them to display, and, perhaps, the outlines of aspirations and fears. Artistic expression, even the slightest tilt of a Fedora or ‘frock’ is an attempt at personalization, a brave effort to be different in some way. And of course a client who reports that he or she enjoys some art form, whether it be music or fashion or television or fiction, is revealing some positive connection with life.

How do we get this rich information? Through asking and paying attention.