Arts in new directions: The development and application of a construct that uses the arts to promote transformation and self-actualization in health care and education/therapy

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Avalon, Alexxis
Art education; Creativity; Art therapy; Arts in medicine
thesis / dissertation description
Artistic methods to evoke relaxation, spark creativity, and change self-perceptions are already being used by therapists, educators, and scientists. Interdisciplinary collaborations among researchers are developing to create new paradigms that incorporate the use of arts to empower individuals. By describing various connections between the arts and participants, researchers are looking at the expressive arts (including dance, music, drama, poetry, and visual arts) for transformation and self-actualization.The problem is that no construct is available to describe the transformation, "the conscious move from one deep structure of knowledge to another" (Wilber, 2004), that occurs when using the arts in health care and education/therapy, particularly in curriculum and instruction.This study developed a construct that integrates and describes how the arts assist with transformation. With analysis and description of two arts-based models, each with two programs, this dissertation shows how the arts function as a means of transformation.These arts-based Models are: Arts in Health Care and Arts in Education/Therapy. The Arts in Health Care Model sustains programs in settings such as hospitals, medical centers, and clinics. The Arts in Education/Therapy Model presents programs in counseling centers, rehabilitation, therapeutic settings, and expressive arts facilities.This study breaks new ground by using Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to define change, transformation, and self-actualization. Within each Model, two Programs are described as curricula using George Posner's Curriculum Analysis. In the Health Care Model, Arts in Medicine programs at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville and Moffitt Cancer Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa are the two Programs reviewed. The Education/Therapy Model's two programs are Natalie Rogers' Creative Connection, based on her psychotherapeutic process, and Paulo Knill's Minstrels of theSoul, an inter-modal approach to expressive arts therapy. The final outcome, expressed as a Construct based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, synthesizes, condenses, and explains how the arts are being used for change and transformation, is termed Arts in New Directions.