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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3230

Title: A Phenomenological Exploration of the Lived Experience of Mothers Recovering from Substance Use Disorders as They Participate in a Time-Limited Art Therapy Group: A Pilot Study
Authors: Bender, Amy Elizabeth
Keywords: Phenomenology;Mothers;Art Therapy;Substance Abuse;Groups
Issue Date: 1-Jun-2010
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience of mothers recovering from substance use disorders as they participated in a time-limited art therapy group. Mothers with substance use disorders (SUDs) face differing stressors, barriers to treatment, and treatment needs, than those of males or childless women. This study was designed to explore how mothers experience their SUDs as expressed through the art therapy process with the goal of creating a better understanding of the psychological and psychosocial phenomena that contribute to the mothers’ experience of substance use. The study was conducted at an outpatient substance use disorders treatment center. The study was initially intended for five participants, between the ages of 18 and 65, who were mothers with substance use disorders. Five participants were recruited; however three mothers withdrew during the course of the study due to personal issues. The data were collected via two simulated group art therapy sessions, individual openended responsive interviews, and followed by a telephone validation interview. The data were analyzed using a qualitative phenomenological methodology as outlined by Moustakas (1994). The major findings included four composite essential structures which were: (1) creation and verbalization of artwork revealed the participants’ struggles with an ambivalent sense of self or poor self-concepts and the need to seek approval from others; (2) an underlying sense of deprivation and loss and a simultaneous preoccupation with attempts to fill the void from external sources; (3) creation and discussion of the artwork allowed for open expression and identification of uncomfortable or painful thoughts and feelings despite defenses used against such feelings; (4) objectification gained by creating and discussing artwork led to concretization of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors regarding past memories as well as future goals which increased self-awareness, leading towards internalization and acceptance of artwork as an extension of self. The implications of this study include clinical applications and recommendations for future research based upon the resulting composite essential structures. The clinical applications incorporate suggestions for art therapy assessment and treatment approaches that emerged from the analysis of the data. Recommendations for future research include follow up studies on the clinical art therapy applications and the integration of art therapy in the substance use disorder treatment team.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3230
Appears in Collections:Health Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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