Claiming and Embracing Our Spirit: The Relationship Between Spirituality, Internalized Homophobia, and Self-Identity within the LGBTQ Community

Thumbnail Image
McKnight, Diane
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Currently, no professional art therapy literature has been found that focuses on spirituality issues within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) population. A phenomenological art-based qualitative research study was conducted in a group format. The purpose of the pilot study was to obtain information on how the LGBTQ population experience spirituality and to explore how it might be tied to internalized homophobia/shame and the process of self-identity integration. A total of four, spiritualityfocused art therapy interventions were conducted during two sessions. Research data included the participant’s art, written responses to the art, researcher observations, and participant’s answers to a feedback form. The data was analyzed according to Moustaka’s (1994) methods and procedures for phenomenological analysis. This pilot study adds to the body of professional literature enabling art therapists to recognize the importance of providing spirituality-focused art therapy interventions that may help the LGBTQ population reduce their internalized homophobia and to provide opportunities for forming a more positive and integrated self-identity.