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A Leap of Faith: The Call to Art
Reviewed by PAUL ROAZEN, PH.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2000;157:2068-2068. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.157.12.2068
View Author and Article Information
Cambridge, Mass.

By Ellen G. Horovitz. Springfield, Ill., Charles C. Thomas, 1999, 195 pp., $44.95; $31.95 (paper).

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Although Carl Jung’s ideas about the practice of psychotherapy were worked out by the mid-1920s, the implications of his ideas for clinical work have taken a long time to sink in. The general public is probably better acquainted with Jung’s most general theories. From the point of view of intellectual history, however, it can be striking how more recent schools, such as self-psychology and object relations, have been unknowingly recycling proposals that Jung first put forward long ago.

Ellen Horovitz’s book is an impressive account of her work as an art therapist with children. Although she has been inspired by Jung’s general orientation in terms of its respect for the spiritual dimension of experience, A Leap of Faith is not a theoretical work or an itemized set of specific recommended techniques but a very readable narrative account of how she has proceeded. A Leap of Faith includes photographs of the author’s work space, as well as photographs of her clients and their artistry, as she proceeds to discuss creativity in the context of her own personal history.

Horovitz’s activities as an art therapist provide numerous examples of diagnoses as well as important sessions. Sometimes she is able to provide follow-up reports on clients years after the conclusion of her work with them. She also pays attention to issues of countertransference. One chapter is made up of interviews with other artists.

A Leap of Faith contains no radical proclamations but is a quiet, gentle book that made for a rewarding read. Horovitz’s work provides a useful complement to the more standard and well-known approaches to art that Freudian thinking has encouraged.

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