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Art therapy and adolescent parental bereavement : case study of a 14 year-old girl


Art therapy and adolescent parental bereavement : case study of a 14 year-old girl

Brodie, Sarah (2007) Art therapy and adolescent parental bereavement : case study of a 14 year-old girl. [Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)] (Unpublished)

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MR28971.pdf - Accepted Version


This paper investigates art therapy as a support for the bereavement process following the loss of a parent in adolescence. There is little published literature in art therapy and no empirical data in answer to this question. This descriptive case study provides a unique example of a 14 year-old girl whose terminally ill mother died during the 8 months of weekly art therapy. She was referred for individual art therapy following a diagnosis of Separation Anxiety Disorder after assessment by the outpatient psychiatry unit of a pediatric hospital. Verisimilitude is developed through thick description and data is analysed in the tradition of interpretive interactionism (Denzin, 2001). Case material is triangulated with literature that presents adolescent bereavement of a parent as a manifold task. Bereavement is a natural process informed by early attachments and loss, personality, coping skills, social support, and family dynamics. In adolescence, bereavement is also shaped by the psychological development of this stage of life. Non-directive, client-centred art therapy allowed the client to symbolically externalize the tasks of bereavement which were empathically reflected by the art therapist, contained by art therapy, and preserved in the artwork. Working from Simon's (1992; 1996) theory on the symbolism of style in spontaneous painting in art therapy, this case study focuses on the artworks as they reflect the psychodynamic processes of bereavement. Creating meaning from the meaninglessness of death, and internalizing the relationship with the deceased were two tasks of bereavement identified in the artwork presented in the case study

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Creative Arts Therapies
Item Type:Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)
Authors:Brodie, Sarah
Pagination:vi, 83 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Creative Arts Therapies (Art Therapy Option)
ID Code:975340
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:06
Last Modified:07 Feb 2019 21:32
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