Storied images of psychotherapeutic change: approaching children's voices through drawings

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Claudia Capella
Loreto Rodrìguez *
Daniela Aguila
Denise Dussert
Ximena Lama
Carolina Gutierrez
Gretchen Beiza
(*) Corresponding Author:
Loreto Rodrìguez |


Introduction: In the field of child psychotherapy research it is common to evaluate psychotherapeutic change through the perspective of adults, such as the child’s parents or designated therapist. Research that actively includes children’s perspectives of psychotherapy generally turn to verbal methods of gathering information, such as interviews. It is important, however, to take into account non-verbal resources that better facilitate expression among children. Aim: This article explores the use of drawings in order to better understand how children view psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic change. It aims to contribute to child and adolescent psychotherapy research by proposing a new methodology. Method: This study presents a single case analysis of the “before and after psychotherapy†drawing of an eight year-old boy who was sexually abused and successfully completed the psychotherapeutic process due to this experience. Data collection methods include soliciting a drawing and carrying out an in-depth interview, both of which were examined using thematic and visual narrative analysis. Results: Participant drawing provided crucial insight into the psychotherapy process, such as perceived changes in emotional states and personal growth and empowerment, all of which allowed the child to make sense of the abusive experience. Meanings that emerged when analyzing the drawing complement verbal narratives. Discussion: The implications of these results are discussed, highlighting the importance of non-traditional research methodologies that are sensitive to children’s developmental needs. Methodologies that consider the developmental characteristics of children allow them to express themselves fully, articulate their narratives and voices, and allow us to reach an understanding of their meanings of their psychotherapeutic processes.

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Author Biography

Claudia Capella, Department of Psychology, University of Chile, Santiago

Department of Psychology