The Phenomenological Experience of Zentangle® and the Implications for Art Therapy

  • Author / Creator
    Deborah Ann Kopeschny
  • In this phenomenological study I explored the lived experience of Zentangle practice and its link to mindfulness, spirituality and Art Therapy. This study was informed by personal experience of Zentangle as a means of creative self-expression and mindfulness meditation. Van Manen’s (2014) interpretive-descriptive phenomenological approach, along with arts-based (McNiff, 2013a) and phenomenology of art expression methods (Betensky, 1995) were used to describe the lived experience of Zentangle. Seven experienced Zentangle practitioners, including five Certified Zentangle Teachers, participated. Findings were based on a variety of sources including focus group discussion and artwork obtained following a Zentangle re-enactment, and two semi-structured, follow-up interviews. Data extracted from transcriptions of the focus group and follow-up interviews were thematically analysed and organized according to four stages of experience common to meditation: entering, mindfulness meditation, awareness, and outcomes. The predominant description of outcomes associated with Zentangle practice was its centering effect. Zentangle provided a means of connecting with and integrating the self. It also served to enhance confidence, and fostered a sense of connection and community. The results suggest that Zentangle can be considered as a mindful/spiritual practice that promotes self-awareness, insight, creative problem solving and can also positively affect emotional and physical well-being, which make it potentially applicable as an Art Therapy tool. Limitations of the study include the number of participants, and bias of participants and researcher. Additional studies regarding the use of Zentangle in therapeutic environments and with different populations are needed to expand understanding, generalizability of findings, and application as an Art Therapy tool.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality (Art Therapy Specialization)
  • DOI
  • License
    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.
  • Language
  • Institution
    St. Stephen's College
  • Degree level
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr. Susan Makin
    • Dr. Pamela Brett-MacLean