The Effects of Mixed Media Art Journaling on the Expression of Grief

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Tatro, Lauren
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
This qualitative heuristic study investigated the effects of mixed media art journaling on the understanding and acceptance of grief, loss, and healing. For five weeks, the researcher engaged in personal mixed media art journaling in addition to researching, exploring, and expanding knowledge on the topic of grief to understand how art could transform personal grief when accessed and processed artistically. After each piece was created, journaling was used to further gather and reflect on the emotional and mental state in correlation to the Kübler-Ross five stage grief theory model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Kessler's addition of a sixth stage, finding meaning, was also taken into consideration throughout the journaling process. Data analysis involved the identification of key themes, patterns, and concept that occurred across the various data forms. The major findings of this study revealed that mixed media art journaling contributed to the researcher’s understanding and acceptance of grief, loss, and healing. Although research on the topic of grief had been substantial, few studies have focused on the impact of visual mixed-media journaling on the expression of grief within the art therapy field specifically. This research study supported and encouraged the use of visual art journaling as a potentially beneficial art therapy intervention in the area of grief work and could serve to advance research in this topic through the results and findings of this study.