Masters Theses

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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
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    The Impact of Bilateral Sensorimotor Art Therapy on Chronic Pain: A Heuristic Arts-Based Study
    (2024) Sgro, Janet L.
    The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of art therapy interventions on alleviating the symptoms of chronic pain. The study investigated how creativity can increase coping skills for those suffering and ultimately increase the quality of life for those with chronic pain. This art-based heuristic study used sensorimotor somatic art therapy interventions and reflective journaling to evaluate the effect of activating the senses in creating bilateral sensory motor drawings. Keywords: polyvagal theory, chronic pain, somatic art therapy, bilateral drawing, unprocessed trauma, sensorimotor art therapy
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    The Lived Experience of Self Expression in the LGBTQIA+ Community
    (2023) Holyfield, Justin
    Little research has been conducted to discover the beneficial aspects of how self- expression can be a therapeutic process in and of itself. Even less has been done in studying how art therapy can be utilized to enhance the experience of engaging with self-expression and enhance the sense of personal identity. The goal of this study is to utilize qualitative research and interviewing to discover how integral the ability to engage in some form of self-expression is for people in the LGBTQIA+ community. As the study progressed there appeared to be a correlation between an increased sense of resiliency and overall increased sense of mental health with the ability to find personhood and identity; this may mark an area for future research. By examining the lived experience of self-expression, this study also hoped to show how art therapy may be uniquely suited to help individuals create a sense of identity and to use self-expression as an integral part of the healing process.