Toward a social critical, analytical prism in art therapy: The example of marginalized Bedouin women's images Academic Article uri icon


  • The aim of this paper is to outline a typology of visual analytical prisms based on social critical theories, rather than on psychological and phenomenological theories. This paper illustrates four compositional art analysis paradigms using social critical theories. These include (a) two descriptive analytical prism-compositional analyses of spatial division for resources in the system, (b) compositional analyses of the reciprocal relationship between figure and background, or micro and macro levels of experience, and two transformative analytical prisms, (c) using compositional mechanisms as a way to self-define content for marginalized and silenced groups, and (d) using visual language to shift static social stands and negotiate multiple perspectives. Each of these analytical prisms is explained and illustrated using images of marginalized Indigenous Bedouin women in Israel. Implications for including a typology and methodology for using social theories to analyze art in art therapy are discussed.

publication date

  • September 1, 2016