The Use of Daily Art-Making, Journal Writing, and Dream Reflections to Promote Self-Care, Creative Flow and Personal Growth

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Watkins, Julianna
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Personal art making and self-introspection is essential for art therapists in order to expand consciousness while providing authentic art experiences to both clients and themselves. This heuristic study explored the use art-making and journal writing for purposes of self-care, personal growth, and creative development. The researcher engaged in spontaneous and open-ended journaling and art making on a daily basis for four weeks using Moustaka’s (1990) six phases of heuristic inquiry, as well as dream art reflections. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES; Rosenberg, 1965) and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS; Lovibond & Lovibond,1995) were completed at the start of and upon the conclusion of the study. Results yielded a significant increase in self-esteem in regard to art making but only a slight increase in general self-esteem. Creative flow was increased by the end of the study. Anxiety and stress levels decreased while scores in depression slightly increased. This study also provided self-discovery and insights for the researcher which included additional emerging themes of creative flow, self-doubt, intuition, and increased self-awareness. Upon completion of this study, it was determined that self-doubt was the driving force and major overarching theme, supporting the need of this heuristic study.