The Art of Silence: An experimental study of silent reflection and art making as compared with art making alone

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Colson, Kristin
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Silence is a pivotal ingredient in the realms of art therapy and spirituality. Various disciplines are beginning to use such meditation techniques as intervention in treatment. Little research, however, exists on the practical application of silent reflection in art therapy. This experimental study compared the use of silent reflection prior to art making and simply art making within a group setting. Participation in groups was voluntary, and participants were randomly assigned to the control group or study group. Participants experienced varying emotional affects throughout the process of silent reflection and artistic response. Results of silent reflection varied from week to week concerning anxiety, serenity, and self-awareness among participants. Cumulatively over time, however, participants who practiced silent reflection had higher rates of serenity and self-awareness and a lower rate of anxiety than participant who simply created art. The emotive qualities of participants were reflected in their artwork. In this research, silent reflection followed by the creation of art, fostered self-awareness and serenity among group members over time.