The Art of Compassion: Exploring and Integrating Counter-Emotions

  • Author / Creator
    Charles Chenard
  • Through arts-based research, interviews and facilitated discussions, this research explored how six volunteer participants were able to detect and integrate their counter-emotions; those emotions that represent a conflict between how we internally feel and experience an emotion, with our actual presentation of ourselves to others because of social conditioning. Participants explored the eight basic emotions (joy, trust, fear surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, anticipation) and through the creation of art, self-reflection, and discussion became present to their experience of having a counter-emotion. By exploring and unlearning previous negative beliefs about themselves, when experiencing a counter-emotion, they found a more compassionate view of self-emoting. Through this process, five central components surfaced for uncovering and integrating counter-emotions: lack of self-compassion; lack of congruency or a divided-self; a search for our true-self; a more compassionate self; and an emotional-spiritual experience. Learning self-compassion was another benefit of this artistic exploration of counter-emotions. Through self-acceptance and emotional honesty participants came closer to a truer self; more accepting of their counter-emotion and of others.

  • 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)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr. Jean Waters
    • Carol-Ann Courneya