A Heuristic Inquiry: Researching the Possibility that Resolution of Sibling Rivalry can be Found Through Examining Pictures, Expressions and Reflections of the Older Sister

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Winberg, Summer
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
This heuristic study looks at the connection between sibling rivalry and the trauma that occurs when a child feels the threat of possible attachment disruption from the parents. The study will examine the researcher’s own life and attempt to identify the effects created by the initial trauma. Analyzing family pictures of the two siblings will enable the researcher to explore unexpressed emotion and other ramifications caused by the initial childhood stressor. The rationale is not that the rivalry is the problem, but rather, the threat of possible disruption of the relationship between the oldest child and the parents. The artwork aided the oldest child in addressing her feelings and understanding that the sibling is not a threat and the past trauma is not affecting their current relationship. The study describes how an effective heuristic dialogue with photographs of the siblings and response artwork can be used to address the potential for escalating future rivalry, the researcher’s relationship with other members of her family and any other relationships due to the adverse impact of the rivalry.