Parent-child art psychotherapy is based on joint art projects of parent and child and mother-father-child (with intact families). Parents’ supervision may include visual symbolization: drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. Joint visual symbolization may transform the implicit, subsymbolized relational contents to an explicit entity available for reflective contemplation. Thus, mentalization of the relationship may commence and cause relational change. The capacity to mentalize is dependent on the attachment relationships:

[I]t refers to our ability to attend to mental states in ourselves and in others as we attempt to understand our own actions and those of others on the basis of intentional mental states. (Bateman & Fonagy, 2012, p. XV)

In addition to being a new device of expression and communication, visual symbolization has a diagnostic value throughout treatment. If a relational change had occurred, it would be present in future joint products (Markman Zinemanas, 2011).