Woods Scholars

Woods Scholars is the institutional repository of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, managed by the Rooney Library. It is a digital archive of works created by College students, faculty, and staff, with an emphasis on graduate student projects and theses. Woods Scholars offers an online mechanism for depositing, maintaining, disseminating, and preserving the research and scholarship of the SMWC community.

Recent Submissions

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    Exploring the role of music therapy in building resilience in the mental health of gifted students
    (2024) Engler, Isabelle
    Board-certified music therapists (MT-BCs) working with educators or in mental health may come across a unique population - gifted students. Gifted students experience high degrees of emotional intensity and extreme pain in times of crisis while having unique social-emotional development and needs (Burke, 2009; Cross & Cross, 2015). Among typically-functioning students, ten percent with no psychiatric diagnosis report suicidal ideation (Hyatt & Cross, 2009). Psychologists and educators point out that gifted students may be prone to anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, unhealthy perfectionism, underachieving, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and anger outbursts (Cross & Cross, 2015; Cross, 2009; Nugent, 2000). Yet this is commonly overlooked due to the perception that gifted students have more advanced cognitive abilities and are high achievers in overcoming these struggles. While there is research on music therapy supporting hospitalized children and within psychiatric settings to reduce anxiety, as well as psychological research on the importance of learning grit and resilience, there is a gap within the field of music therapy in supporting gifted students. The four-week clinical study, completed for a master’s thesis project includes a review of the literature, clinical research method of utilizing standardized assessments and music therapy interventions, data analyses, and discussion on the research data measuring whether music therapy helps gifted students reduce anxiety and build resilience to overcome their mental health difficulties. This study shows that the implementation of music therapy has contributed to reducing anxiety with statistical significance and increasing resilience level in gifted students.
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    Music Therapy for the Mental Health Needs of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (IDs): A Qualitative Survey of Clinical Practices and Perspectives
    (2024) Knapp, Savannah
    The purpose of this study was to collect information through a qualitative survey regarding the clinical practices and perspectives of music therapists (MT-BCs) for supporting the mental health needs of individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (IDs). The results from the eight participants revealed that MT-BCs may be aware of the presence of mental health needs, higher risk of trauma, differences in mental health needs, and the false assumptions related to ID and mental health, but there are personal gaps in knowledge regarding mental health needs. Participants believe that their role in supporting these needs is through promoting and aiding in self-expression, fostering connection, demonstrating the use of music for generalizable skills, and addressing needs in the moment; all while staying within their scope of practice. Participants work towards emotional skills and self-expression goals, and they utilize various improvisational, re-creative, compositional, and receptive music experiences to address these goals. Participants adapt these music experiences through simplification, adapted aids, addressing sensory needs, and providing more structure. Participants would like there to be more education and discussion on this topic, mental health needs to be addressed in music therapy sessions, and for MT-BCs to stop making false assumptions related to ID and mental health. This information can be used to inform the clinical practices of current and future music therapists in supporting individuals with IDs.
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    Chronic Pain and the Experiences of Women Seeking Treatment in the U.S. Medical System: A Heuristic Qualitative Study
    (2024) LaRusso, Marina
    The following qualitative study examines the question, “What is the lived experience of women with chronic pain seeking medical treatment in the United States?” Using a heuristic model, the researcher both integrated personal experiences, as well as conducted interviews with 4-8 women who experience chronic pain. The interviews were used to present and discuss commonalities and to capture significant statements. In addition, themes were recorded that emerged and reflected the experiences of the participants that hope to enhance the depth of research surrounding this topic. Co-researchers, also known as participants, had the opportunity to do a piece of art at the end of their interview in response to their experience with chronic pain. Engaging with art while relating to the experience of chronic pain offered another avenue for gathering data to inform the research question. All co-researchers, and the conductor of the study, engaged in a final focus group to extend the sharing of experiences, art, observations, and emerging themes, and to thereby deepen the understanding of the research question.
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    Likeness in the Lived Experience: A Constructive Heuristic Study on Adolescents Undergoing a Health Care Transition in Renal Transplant Clinics
    (2024) Laker, Abigail
    Health Care Transitions (HCT) between pediatric and adult care have been an ongoing focus within the health care community especially for adolescent patients living with chronic illness and disease. This thesis focused on HCT for the specific population of renal transplant recipients. Transitioning literature was reviewed concluding that publications remain sparse for transitional care models specific to Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) with kidney transplants; despite literature supporting the need to address the psychosocial needs within the vulnerable population. The heuristic nature of this study aimed to explore the lived experience of Adolescent and Young Adults (AYA) living with a kidney transplant while they prepared to navigate the adult healthcare system by implementing art therapy into a renal transplant clinic for adolescents and young adults. A body outline art directive offered the co-researchers a form of nonverbal communication to expand self-awareness of emotions. Self-awareness of emotions encourages autonomy; for this reason, the use of art therapy to evaluate and improve the AYAs self-worth could promote resilience and coping ability for AYA renal transplant recipients.
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    The Use of Photography and Collage for the Purpose of Achieving Role Transition and Role Balancing in Middle Adulthood
    (2014-04) Chu, Chun Fung
    The Psychosocial Theory has divided the course of human development into stages according to age. The middle adulthood stage is characterized by numerous developmental tasks, and role transition and role balancing are among the challenges middle-aged adults, aged 34 to 60, face as many of them take on multiple roles in their daily life during this stage of life. In this research, an art-based heuristic approach was adopted with the researcher as the sole participant, using two different art mediums, photography and collage, as a means to explore and support my multiple roles in life and achieve the developmental tasks of role transition and role balancing. The results from this heuristic study would give direction to future research and intervention on supporting middle-aged adults in living a balanced life. Keywords: middle adulthood, role transition, role balancing, art therapy, photography, collage