Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
Dr.Tamar Hadar, MT-BC
Art and mindfulness serve as separate approaches for both mental health treatment and relaxation. This thesis aimed to explore the meaning of a mindfulness-based art directive as perceived by individuals dealing with mood disorders, and its possible influence on their levels of mood and anxiety. The history of mindfulness and expressive therapies are explored, and the benefits of each approach are highlighted. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy are discussed as ways to enhance the relationship between mind and body, to reduce the suffering that comes from mental and physical pains, and to prevent depressive relapse.
In order to examine the influences of mindful art as an integrated approach, I developed a mindfulness-based art directive, administered to patients diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder in a short-term inpatient psychiatric hospital unit. Participants were asked to assess their mood and anxiety before participating in a mindfulness activity followed by an arts-based directive. After the directive, participants were asked to reassess their mood and anxiety and to note any change. In addition, the participants shared their experience, thoughts and feelings regarding the directive. The analysis of the participants’ experiences gave rise to themes, such as “Mindfulness induced anxiety”, “The significance of watercolors”, “The intermodal affect” and “The choice of color”. In addition, the participants’ self-reports imply that the combination of mindfulness and art had a positive impact on mood.
This study offers insight into arts and mindfulness as well as supporting the idea that the arts can serve as a complimentary piece to mindfulness-based interventions. Finally, recommendations for improving the directive and further research are delineated, mostly concentrating population size and the use of artistic medium.
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Macleod, Patrick, "“Calming Watercolors”: Using Mindful Art in Treatment of Mood Disorders" (2020). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 256.
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