Masters Theses

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 227
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    Art Therapy as Treatment for Nonbinary People with Disordered Substance Use: The Art Therapists’ Perspective
    (2023) Srok, Lisa
    This qualitative research study presents the results of an online survey that evaluated the professional experience of credentialed art therapists using art therapy as a treatment for nonbinary individuals with disordered substance use. The resulting information is valuable for understanding how art therapists utilize art to provide mental health care services for this demographic. The research also reviews literature regarding substance use, mental health care for transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) individuals, and the value of art therapy. The problem concerning the omission of nonbinary people in current research is examined along with the specific challenges faced by this community. Through the perspective of professional art therapists, this research study investigates the specialized needs and therapy objectives of nonbinary people with disordered substance use, gains insights into the benefits of art therapy with this marginalized group, obtains informative feedback related to the importance of identity to this demographic, and gathers and analyzes additional data that is relevant to serving the mental health care needs of this diverse community. The results of this research may be used for the future development of culturally sensitive treatment programs integrating art therapy for TGNB people with disordered substance use and for creating specific art therapy interventions for this understudied population.
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    Exploring Inner Landscape: An Art-Based Heuristic Study on Illustrating Somatic Narrative
    (2023) Welsh, Zoe
    This study employed an art-based heuristic method to explore the metaphor of inner landscape expressed through visual media. The purpose of this study was to develop a deeper understanding of the impact of outwardly depicting one’s inner experience through art-making, as well as explore the relationship between regular creative self-expression, improved strategies of emotion regulation, and physical wellbeing. I maintained openness to new learnings that emerged related to somatic symptom relief as it correlated to my experience with anxiety. Data collection coincided with my own experience of pregnancy after experiencing a prior perinatal loss. Therefore, the impact of emotion regulation on maternal perinatal mental health was also explored. Rigorous immersion in personal experience with daily art-making alongside weekly dialogue with a co-researcher and visual artist enabled a richer, more complete understanding of the lived experience of inner landscape and its impact on the body and mind. The landscape images produced during the study display opposing themes of scarcity and abundance, expressed through environments of varying degrees of danger and safety. Corresponding dominant emotions of fear, anger and sadness correlated to greater experience of tension and pain in the lower extremities, experience of insomnia, and digestive upset while contrasting feelings of gratitude, trust, and safety correlated to decreased experience of somatic disturbance and greater levels of self-esteem. Additionally, a strong relationship between the experience shame and physical pain was noted. These findings provide important insight into potential mental health strategies using visual art making during the perinatal period, particularly as it may support the experience of pregnancy after loss.
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    An Arts-Based Heuristic Study on the Lived Experience of Utilizing Art Therapy while Experiencing Anxiety
    (2023) Bommer, Joshua
    This arts-based, heuristic study examines a personal experience of creating art while experiencing anxiety. Over the course of six weeks, a co-researcher and I met weekly to create art for one hour while keeping notes of each session’s experiences. Moustakas’ (1990) six phases of heuristic research were utilized as a framework and guide during the study. Through the six phases, the nature of the experiences was observed and processed. The personal experiences of a co-researcher and myself are discussed to express and clarify the ways each perceived and understood the data that emerged throughout the process. The results indicated that further study could be undertaken at the nexus of artmaking and anxiety as both the co-researcher and I found positive personal benefit in creating art while anxious.
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    Art Therapy in Pediatric Palliative Care: Promoting the Visual Voice by Identifying Feelings, Emotions and Pain Perception through Drawing
    (2023) Lackey, Katja
    The following qualitative study investigated the experiences of individualized art therapy interventions with pediatric palliative care patients in a medical setting. A body feelings map directive with Pediatric Palliative care patients (6-18 years old) promoted embodiment and connection to feelings, emotions, and pain. It connected the sensation within the boundary of the body map. The visual expression of emotions and feelings opened the PPC patient's Perceptual and Affective components as the chaos of those experiences was visually organized and recalled by the participant. PPC children expressed their feelings through drawing was studied to understand and observe the PPC client's verbal connection to their visual response. The resulting themes from the study were emotional self-awareness, expression of intense feelings, and identity. All participants indicated anger in the body map but drew about fear as an experience. The agency of the directive promotes autonomy and control for the patient. Visual experiences of symptoms offered the PPC treatment team new insights. The interviews, artwork, a body feelings map, and observations resulted in the use of art therapy to aid in learning and psychosocial support to the pediatric palliative care patient within the medical setting and expression of emotions and experiences.
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    Thank You for Your Service: What Veterans Want Civilians to Understand and Implications for Therapy
    (2018) Williams, Leslie
    This single-subject research study of a United States military veteran included a multi-modal workshop and focus questions, visual art making, poetry composition, and interviews. The data collected from this one-day workshop produced themes that are relevant to mental health providers, particularly the civilian provider who serves the military in a culturally sensitive and competent manner. The interest in creating this study came from the researcher’s experience hearing veterans’ responses to the commonly offered phrase from civilians, “Thank you for your service.” Many said that though they receive it graciously, inside they hold thoughts such as, “You haven’t got a clue.” Thematic results indicated the participant’s interest in communication, connection, and understanding. Though the veteran’s verbal answers were thoughtful, they were enhanced and made emotionally more complex through the use of visual art making and poetry creation. Additional research was recommended.