Bringing Light to Dark Spaces: Positivity and the Art Making Process for Women with Heart Failure

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Rivers-Norton, Jana
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
This arts-based, phenomenological study explored the lived experiencing of positive art making activities and the phenomenological processing of created art objects to promote psychological well-being for five women diagnosed with heart failure. Though heart failure is a life threatening and progressive disease, to date, there is limited research on the application of a positive art therapy approach that focuses on strengths and coping skills rather than deficits or weaknesses. Using an arts-based phenomenological method, participants completed three positive art therapy directives and three 1: 1 Zoom interviews over a three-month period. Five emergent themes were identified including: hope for longevity and continuance, overcoming life’s challenges, acceptance and letting go, intense change, and authenticity and self-care. It was found that a positive art therapy approach may offer a complementary means for promoting psychological well-being for this population.