A Heuristic Self-Study and Arts Psychotherapy Acculturation Narrative

  • Author / Creator
    Joanne S. B. Bano
  • Acculturation is the study of cultural, psychosocial and psychological changes that can occur when people from different cultures and languages interact in various social settings. This arts based heuristic self-study used Clark Moustakas’ (1990) heuristic methodology, and his six stages “the initial engagement, immersion, incubation, illumination, explication, and creative synthesis” (p. 27) to learn the answers to my research questions. My research questions are: how might I have experienced self, God and others during my early acculturation transition in junior high and high school, and what model of acculturation might I have used during this period? I am a Guyanese-Canadian woman of South American, and West Indian origins. I was born in Dutch Guyana and educated there in the British system until age 11. Then my family immigrated to Canada in October, 1980, where I adjusted to Canadian life and education in Calgary, Alberta. During my early years of acculturation, I attended junior high and high school in Calgary, and for the purpose of this study, I focused on these years. In the appropriate stages of Moustakas’ (1990) six steps, I used insights from Sandy Sela-Smith’s (2002) self-search application; drew from past memories of my early acculturation period by creating spontaneous art expressions with Margaret Naumburg’s (1966) art psychotherapy theory, and reflected on the nine artworks with her Jungian free thought assessment technique. Throughout this study, I used: a journal; a camera and art making supplies (i.e., heavy craft paper, stretched canvases, chalks, coloured pencils, oil pastels, acrylic and oil paints, and brushes). The information collected was comprised of my spontaneous art expressions of what the experience of acculturation was like; and my detailed reflections, captured in my journal, and by digital recording, on what each art piece meant and evoked about that acculturation time and specific events. To validate the findings in this heuristic qualitative self-study I compared my overall acculturation discoveries with: The Cambridge Handbook of Acculturation Psychology (2006) three main theories and four modes an individual may choose during his or her acculturation process. My research findings suggested that the ways I chose to acculturate may have been influenced by my personal culture, family’s collective worldview, spirituality, and my insufficient knowledge about the variances in norms, values, and communication styles in my new culture.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • 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
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Dr. Leslie Gardner
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Ara Parker
    • Dr. Diane Conrad