Deficiencies in self-care behaviors are symptomatic in individuals diagnosed with
chemical dependency disorders as addiction becomes the way to self-soothe. Existing
research and currently applied treatment approaches do not specifically address the core need
of women in early recovery to develop self-nurturing behavior. This observational
descriptive study explores the effect of modeling the nurturing behavior of therapeutic
storytelling and invocation art making upon drawings and behaviors of women diagnosed
with chemical dependency in early recovery.
Over a six-week period, once a week for an hour, the effects of combining invocation art
making and therapeutic storytelling, two nurturing modalities on self-nurturing behavior
were examined on women (n=7) in an outpatient intensive day treatment facility. Additional
data was gathered by administering pre and post self-assessment questionnaires and free
drawings to each participant. It was anticipated that the modeling of nurturing behavior with
the art therapist as the storyteller would increase self-nurturing behaviors in this population,
which would likely be reflected in their artwork over the course of treatment. Images
produced and behaviors were considered for changes over time in individual participants and
for similarities and differences between participants.
The results suggest that this intervention would result in a greater investment in treatment
and recovery because self-nurturing behaviors appeared to generally increase as seen in
questionnaire responses, changes in images and verbal statements from subjects. Although
further research is warranted to obtain conclusive data, the findings could possibly provide
future implications to a connection for decreased recidivism and successful long-term recovery for individuals with chemical dependency disorders.