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The spirit of Tam Joseph manifested into flesh in Dominica West Indies. The spirit is in a
continuous process of manifestation. Using paint, canvas, paper, wood, metal, rope and
various other materials to celebrate its gratitude to the source.

For a black person, there are two ways of dealing with the impact of racism. You become 'Black',
or deny that you are 'Black'. In the development of the normal black child, this is what goes on.
You will get the black child becoming aware of the fact that they are black through dolls, nursery
rhymes and television. When you go to school, the difference of your skin colour is rammed
home to you by the majority of children who are white. This affects your self-esteem. You want
to become white. You imagine you are white. You want white dolls and action men. You want
your mother to be white.

Society historically has always idealised what is white, and negated what is black. The black child
learns early to question its own colour. It is hardly surprising that black mental health groups
spend so much time raising the self-esteem of black people who fall into the trap, and
encouraging a positive view of one's skin colour. 'Black is beautiful' is not just a political or
ideological slogan. The black therapist working with a black client has to use an interventionist
technique, raising black consciousness and nurturing the blackness in the client (Fatilinehin
[1989}. The white therapist cannot afford to be colour blind.

I have read accounts of art psychotherapy with black clients, and I find myself dismayed by what I
read and hear. In the recent book by Katherine Killick and Joy Schaverien (Eds.) The State of the
Art: Art Therapy and Psychosis.
[1997], I could not find any reference to art therapy done with
black clients. So I turned to another book, Marian Lieberman (Ed.) Art Therapy With Offenders
[1994]. There were two cases here which dealt with art therapy with black inmates, described by
Barbara Carban in conversation with Adrian West, 'Working as an Art Therapist in a Regional
Secure Unit'.

The art therapist is working with a young black man, B. diagnosed with schizophrenia. She
mentions that he is illegitimate, that his mother suffered from a psychotic illness, probably
schizophrenia and was never treated for it. He was brought up by a single mother who neglected
him because of her mental illness. The first thing I noticed was the whiteness of his images. He
was white and his mother was drawn white. The three black images stand out all the more for
that reason. They are 'Big Hulk' (p153), 'Crow' (135) and 'Octopus' (p156). The art therapist says
she was struck by his ability to draw animals and for his feelings for getting their shapes right. I
was struck by his drawings of himself, his mother and father all stick people with black features
but white faces.

He relates more to animals and sees himself as a bird or an octopus. His heroes are the Incredible
Hulk and Superman. What strikes me is that these heroes have power whereas he has none. His
last image before being discharged into the community is of two white dolphins representing his
mother and himself getting on better.

As the art therapist says, he relates strongly to his 'Extinct Bird' (p153) but, even more poignant,
were the images of the black crow, black octopus, which the art therapist interpreted as being
aware of and owning his own dangerousness. To me, there are serious issues about colour,
identity and power imbalance that are not being addressed in this case study. There seems to be a
lot of acceptance of stereotypes and negative self-image by the therapist. This kind of therapy
does more harm than good. She is giving nothing back to the client to bolster his own self-
esteem. She is making him own his own dangerousness. What about his goodness? This isn't
the kind of therapy black people need.

Her next case is Miss C, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and personality disorder. C had
attacked her mother because she thought she had neglected her. In the transference, the therapist