Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Shaun McNiff, PhD

Second Advisor

Jane Ferris Richardson, PhD

Third Advisor

Tomoyo Kawano, PhD


The art-based study, focused on painting with black ink on paper and video documentation, explores the relationship between artistic expression and contemplative breathing with a particular focus on tanden, a unique concept of such Asian cultures as Chinese, Korean and Japanese. There were three research questions: “How can tanden influence one’s physical movements in the art-making process?” and “Can contemplative breathing with a focus on tanden influence the quality of expression in one’s art-making? If so, what are the influences and implications for art therapy?”

The research suggested five bodily sensations common to all participants: inhaling and exhaling, relaxing, flow and rhythm, freedom and spontaneity, and centering. Those physical elements significantly impacted their artistic expressions, which conveyed three research outcomes as follows;

1. Different inhaling and exhaling sensations in the contemplative breathing with a focus on tanden facilitated attunement of mind and body.

2. The body movements became rhythmic, spontaneous, and bold in correspondence with contemplative breathing with a focus on tanden, and these qualities were shown in the paintings.

3. A focus on tanden supported centering action in the painting process together with corresponding expressions in the artistic composition.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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