Date of Award

Spring 2015

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Paige Asawa

Abstract

This research investigates the researcher’s experience of the integration of art making within sensorimotor psychotherapy as they relate to the resolution of attachment trauma. The heuristic method of research inquiry was employed in which the researcher was the subject in the research. The basis for the research was an increasing awareness of attachment trauma present in her life history. A review of the literature yielded that a large body of research had been published on attachment theory, trauma, and art therapy. There existed at the time of the research inquiry a lack of literature exploring the utilization of art making in sensorimotor psychotherapy. Data was gathered in the form of artworks created during individual psychotherapy with a psychologist certified in sensorimotor psychotherapy and in the form of post-session reflective writings. The artworks and post-session writings were analyzed. Themes that substantiated the research inquiry emerged. Multiple meanings were derived from this research. A primary meaning was the recognition that the therapeutic alliance coupled with art making and sensorimotor psychotherapy provided a secure environment for integration of attachment trauma. Further research is warranted. There is a potential for development of methodology for incorporating art making into sensorimotor psychotherapy for clients with whom the process is merited. Future iterations of the developed protocol might include replications of the study and modification and expansion of the protocol. The protocol could be employed for processing other types of trauma. Additionally, there is a need for more art therapists who are concurrently trained in sensorimotor psychotherapy.

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