Shared Art-Making Experiences and Levels of Closeness between Two Partners When One Has Acquired Hearing Loss

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Johnson, Sharon
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Effective communication of thoughts and feelings plays a critical role in developing and maintaining the emotional intimacy that contributes to satisfying committed relationships. When one partner is affected by acquired hearing loss (AHL), verbal communication may no longer be an effective means for intimate communication, resulting in deterioration of the relationship. This mixed methods case study explored the use of two shared art-making interventions as a means of communication focused on fostering emotional intimacy within a couple affected by AHL. Results from a quantitative instrument, the Couples Satisfaction Index-4 (CSI-4; Funk & Roggee, 2007), administered before and after the study showed a slight increase in the level of warmth and comfort of the relationship by both partners. A narrative analysis of the art and written work of the interventions, along with responses to the qualitative questionnaire, revealed themes of self-awareness, intimate sharing, and interest in creating new meaning within the relationship.