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Creating doorways: finding meaning and growth through art therapy in the face of life-threatening illness


Creating doorways: finding meaning and growth through art therapy in the face of life-threatening illness

Reilly, Rosemary C. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7274-4488, Lee, Virginia, Laux, Katherine and Robitaille, Andréanne (2021) Creating doorways: finding meaning and growth through art therapy in the face of life-threatening illness. Public Health, 198 . pp. 245-251. ISSN 0033-3506

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2021.07.004


Objectives: This article presents the findings of a pilot study situated in a tertiary care cancer centre and examines the impact of an art therapy group on the experiences of women living through breast cancer.
Study design: The study design used in this study is a qualitative cross-case comparative case.
Methods: Ten women were interviewed about their experiences making art, many for the first time. Interviews were transcribed and analysed, along with the participants’ artist statements.
Results: Categories include the following: the significant benefits of art therapy on their sense of selfefficacy; the emotionally enhancing nature of making art for the first time; the power of their artwork to trigger insights about themselves (including subcategories of self-actualization, existential growth, and post traumatic growth) or in communicating their experiences to loved ones; and how making art changed their worldview and life philosophies, creating doorways of possibilities.
Conclusion: This study suggests that art therapy provides a safe context to reflect on profound personal changes and to re-story losses following adversity through creative practices as a dimension of care.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Applied Human Sciences
Item Type:Article
Authors:Reilly, Rosemary C. and Lee, Virginia and Laux, Katherine and Robitaille, Andréanne
Journal or Publication:Public Health
Date:September 2021
  • Quebec Nursing Intervention Research Network (RRISIQ)
  • Fonds de recherche Santé Québec
  • Centre for Human Relations and Community Studies, Concordia University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1016/j.puhe.2021.07.004
Keywords:art therapy; breast cancer; existential growth; posttraumatic growth; open studio method; women
ID Code:991982
Deposited By: Rosemary Reilly
Deposited On:06 Apr 2023 21:08
Last Modified:12 Apr 2023 15:11


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