Cutting and Constructing for Clarity and Connection: A Mixed-Methods, Arts-based Hermeneutic Exploration of Countertransference

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Minshew, Merilee
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
This arts-based, hermeneutic study gathered and analyzed data utilizing survey and qualitative methods. Five mental health professionals explored their countertransferential situations via the research group process. Arts-based methods employed meditation, collage construction, writing imaginal dialog, poetry, presentation, and identification of themes. Pre- and post-surveys asked mixed Likert scale and open-ended questions to determine effect of countertransference on esteem, comfort, and therapeutic alliance. The study aimed to increase dialog, further normalize, and discover themes of countertransference; and assess the impact of processing countertransference on the therapist and therapeutic alliance. Participants identified need, suspension, and journeying as themes of countertransference. Through art-based data processing that included poetry, improvisational hoop-dance, and word collages, the additional themes of perspective, water, and engagement became evident. Engagement in creative group process and open discussion of countertransference increased normalization, comfort, and esteem. No perceptible effect on the therapeutic alliance was found.