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Art Therapy in Addictions Recovery: A Grafting Place for Women's Healing Open Access


Other title
theological study
VINES (Visioning Images in Nature Empowering Soul-healing)
addictions recovery
Type of item
Degree grantor
St. Stephen's College
Author or creator
Nancy Jean Olthuis
Supervisor and department
Dr. Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Margaret Clark
Dr. Jane Simington
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality (Art Therapy Specialization)
Degree level
Using a phenomenological approach, my thesis question is: What is the lived experience of the women who participate in an addictions recovery group that uses art therapy featuring metaphors related to the vine. Infusing a metaphor about the various attributes of the vine, including narrative and visual art therapy images, had the intention of supporting creative elements in the women’s recovery journey relevant to 12-step programs. My interventions were based on art therapy, applied research, and theological study. I drew deeply from the natural world and Christian-based traditions, weaving art, photography, movement, and writing with ritual and spiritual practice. The vine becomes the intertwining metaphor for this study’s research. I employed phenomenological methodology as the research approach in order to search for themes and the essence of the lived experience(s) of these women, particularly examining whether or not the vine metaphor is relevant and could facilitate the participants’ therapeutic experience. Organic inquiry, which is based on the growth of a plant, inspired aspects of the method. Participants were from a Christian-based residential recovery centre for women. The data was collected from individually recorded interviews and from the mundane data that members contributed through art, non-verbal communication, and verbal comments during the group sessions. The themes support the capacity of artmaking, art reflection, and group dynamics as an efficient, effective addictions treatment modality. I constructed and included a manual called VINES (Visioning Images in Nature Empowering Soul-healing).
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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