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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2892

Title: The guide within: a descriptive survey of art therapist’s personal art making experience
Authors: Ulrich, Deborah A
Keywords: Art Therapy
Issue Date: 20-Oct-2008
Abstract: This investigation is an attempt at understanding the art therapist/artist’s participation or neglect, motivations, and internal experience of personal art making and the role it plays in the art therapist’s life as a vehicle for coping with life events. Its purpose is to document the subjective art experience and the reflection and/or influence in the engagement of the creative process. The utilization of a descriptive internet survey of working art therapists was employed involving an enrollment sample of 757 members of the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). 145 participants responded and completed the survey. Recruitment was expedited through e-mail addresses listed in the most recent AATA membership directory. Participation of graduate degreed subjects ranged in ages of 23 to 89 years, and had experience working in the field of art therapy. The survey consists of questions that can be analyzed quantitatively, as well as qualitatively and in relation to the specific nature of the art making experience. Insights were provided into the significance of the artist identity as an art therapist, and the mutual benefits experienced by the clinician as well as artist. The research narrative promotes a focus of attention to the practitioner’s professional self development, personal and professional demands, and critical attention to issues of self care. Additional encouragement with a concentration in self exploration is supported with regard to enhancement of the self as well as therapeutic effectiveness. Distinction is given to the open acceptance of “process” and the attention taken in monitoring one’s creative inner voice. Art therapists indicate the importance of personal engagement in art making, yet the frequency is low. Many interpret their creativity with ambivalence and self criticism as a result of their responsibilities in the professional, social, and familial realms. A major implication observed by the participant’s perceptions and behaviors focused attention on the art therapy professional’s widespread lack of awareness to one’s own self care issues. Art therapy professionals do utilize the creative process in their struggle to overcome this paucity, and through the process of looking within as well as connecting with others are communicating within both the professional and personal arena in creative ways to explore the meaning of one’s self truth.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2892
Appears in Collections:Health Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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