A Heuristic Inquiry of Self-Care and Self-Compassion through Journaling, Artmaking, and Imaginal Dialogue

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Boender, Madison
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
This heuristic study looked at the experience of practicing self-care as an online art therapy graduate student as well as explored the relationship between self-care and self-compassion. Background on the importance and ethical imperative of self-care and self-compassion were discussed. Definitions for burnout, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, countertransference, journaling, artmaking, and imaginal dialogue were provided. Over the course of 4 weeks, the researcher-participant engaged in pre-and-post mindfulness journaling, art making and imaginal dialogue. The Self-Compassion Scale, developed by Kristin Neff (2003), was self-administered at the start and at the end of the study. After completion, the data collected through journal entries, artworks and imaginal dialogue were thematically analyzed. The researcher-participant found that journaling, artmaking, and imaginal dialogue as forms of self-care resulted in increased self-awareness, access to emotions, personal growth, self-compassion, and understanding of the function and importance of self-care.