A Psycho-Educational Approach to Shaman Storytelling and Art Making: A Hermeneutic Study of Female Victims of Domestic Violence and their Ego Strength

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Buescher, Jessica
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
The author uses a hermeneutic research design to show a relationship between shamanic storytelling used in South American shaman traditions to a psycho-educationally based art therapy approach in working with women who have been victims of domestic violene. Art therapy and shamanism seem to go hand and hand. They both use art and imagery as a way to capture the essence of ‘dis-ease’ of a person. Although both topics have been the subjects of many combined articles in the creative art therapy field few have dealt with explicit archetypal themes of shamanism. The series of art tasks for this study apply theories of psycho-educational principles, ancient shaman knowledge in traditional storytelling form, and a series of art and dialogue tasks to assist in the breaking down of the abuser-victim phenomenon. The results yielded positive statistics in the categories of relaxation, but the emotions of feeling strong, good, and loved were still hard to access. Villoldo (2006) wrote “As each generation attempts to work through the legacy of the family trauma, someone has to make a conscious decision to rewrite the story” (p. 73). This could not be a more appropriate quote given the population of this study.