Spiritual Transformation in Art Therapy: A Living Human Portrait

  • Author / Creator
    Foster, Laura David
  • This was a study about a client whom I worked with in my practicum experience in an inner-city church. It explored my thesis question: How was art therapy spiritually transformative for my client? The significance of this case is this outcome. Through the client’s art therapy process, she addressed an underlying cause of her depression, the unresolved issues of trauma from childhood. I became intrigued with studying her case further in this thesis after writing an integrative paper on it for my practicum course. My purpose was to see what could be discovered through an in-depth exploration that would have a bearing on art therapy practice. I was especially drawn to the images, and how they emerged through the process of art-making and reflection, as they related to the client’s spiritual development. Through a synthesis of case study methodology with theological reflection as inquiry and portraiture as research, I have created a conceptual model and termed it “a living human portrait” of the client’s spiritually transformative art therapy. This was a retrospective study on a client’s case. As such, ethical issues were taken care of prior to the research with a signed informed consent form, as required by St. Stephen’s College for use in students’ art therapy practicum work with clients. This case portrays what depth psychologists and art therapists have theorized: if spiritual issues such as the effects of childhood trauma are hidden from conscious awareness and are not confronted, psychopathology can continue over the course of a person’s life. The case also portrays healing through confronting these underlying issues in spiritually informed art therapy.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality
  • 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
  • Specialization
    • Art Therapy Specialization
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dawson, Heather (St. Stephen's College)
    • Dunne, Veronica (St. Stephen's College)