Trauma and Pathology

Image: Image of Nancy Hunt on TV screen in an interview with Phil Donahue. Two main characters, Dr. Elliot (Michael Cain), and Liz (Nancy Allen) are shown in a spit screen watching their TVs. These characters’ faces are only possible to view through their reflection in mirrors as they watch the TV interview. Image from film Dressed to Kill (1980) director: Brian De Palma,

Interpretive Themes

Today’s concepts of treatment in art therapy are often focused on trauma and pathology. Using the art therapy timeline, students analyze which stories are remembered or forgotten, and how this process shapes the culture in which the art therapy profession emerges. The following questions inform the entries in each category for the timeline.


What roles have historical narratives about normality and pathology played in creating group identities?

What political and cultural innovations have emerged in response to collective normality/pathology narratives? 

How has pedagogical discourse in art therapy articulated pathology narratives? 


What roles have collective trauma narratives in history played in shaping racial, ethnic, national and class identities in the United States? 

What political and cultural innovations have emerged in history in response to collective trauma narratives? 

How has pedagogical discourse in art therapy articulated trauma narratives?