Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies


The purpose of this research was to offer young expressive therapists in Israel, a country with a complex cultural narrative, a tool that might enhance ethno-cultural empathy competencies. The research question was: What is the effect of Personal Portrait Photographs on cultural attitude among Jewish and Arabic expressive/art therapists in Israel? A qualitative arts based study based in constructivist empirical phenomenology was executed collecting data via photo elicitation, through use of portrait photographs of faces of women wearing three religious head dresses: Jewish, Muslim and Christian. The photographs were revised to portray participants’ faces in the portrait photo. Participants were 9 women expressive therapists of 3 religions; 2 religious and 1 secular of each religion. Facilitators were two women expressive therapists, Jewish and Christian Arab. Data was analyzed using inductive thematic analysis by researcher and facilitators, compared, coded and observed for prominent themes and sub-themes. Themes were viewed by a Gestalt therapy approach and concepts. Themes found were: 1. Pattern, and sub-themes were projection, women, personal identity and religion 2. Breaking patterns with sub themes of women (new), self-awareness. 3. Integration of parts, and sub-theme of new self-awareness. 4. Between cultures and sub-themes of affiliation group, fear of the ‘other’ and caution. 5. Professional identity. Findings show that the research tool offered participants an insightful and meaningful experience and extended their ethno-cultural empathy competencies. Furthermore, the study presents a unique Gestalt approach observation on the multicultural learning process participants experienced. The research tool can have significant future use in training expressive therapists, especially within the intricate cultural setting of Israel, to enhance ethno-cultural empathy and competencies.

Number of Pages


Included in

Art Therapy Commons




The author owns the copyright to this work.