A Heuristic Arts-Based Study on Personal Art Making in the Professional Development of Art Therapists

Thumbnail Image
Bannister, Linda
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
This study explored the role of personal art making in the professional development of art therapists. The researcher conducted a heuristic arts-based study, which investigated the process of entering authentic, personal, sustained, and mindfulness-based approaches to art making. The study sought to establish that the art therapist who maintains a personal art making practice will keep the art therapist’s unique access to therapeutic art processes at the center of their professional practice of art therapy. It asserts that this special knowledge is critical for the development of mature empathy and attunement with clients. First-hand knowledge of expressive art processes allows art therapists to present authentic art experiences to clients. Using Moustakas’s six phases of heuristic inquiry, the researcher immersed herself in sustained, mindful, and open ended art making processes with an expected outcome of realizing personal experiences of creative flow, and meaningful creative expression. This study empowered the researcher in her personal practice of art therapy and continues to stimulate discussion about the inclusion of in-depth expressive art practices in art therapy education and on-going professional development.