Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Mitchell Kossak

Second Advisor

Nisha Sajnani

Third Advisor

Meenakshi Chhabra


This research explored how the arts can help facilitate the process of forgiveness using a diverse methods research design. The first part of the research was a qualitative phenomenological inquiry examining the experiences of eight people who identified as having worked through a substantial process of forgiving in which the arts was an informative part of their process. The second part involved arts-based research to further investigate how art helped facilitate the participants forgiveness process. The primary investigation of the inquiry was: How did involving art effect the participants’ process of forgiving, and, did art facilitate or enrich the forgiveness process, and if so, how? Semi-structured interviews lasting approximately one hour were held with the participants to explore the research inquiry. Art forms involved in the participants’ process included poetry, visual art, music and sound, songwriting, and performance art.

Analysis of the interviews identified several themes describing what the arts offered in the process and how creative expression was facilitative to forgiving. The interviews and thematic findings were then examined through arts-based research in a process of poetic distillation and poetic response. Poetic inquiry was followed by visual art reflection using acrylic painting on canvas to further explore the process of using art in the process of forgiveness.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.



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