Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Counseling and Human Services

First Advisor

Jennifer Tantia

Second Advisor

Catherine Borbotsina

Third Advisor

Heather Harris

Abstract

This Capstone explores the use of art therapy with a geriatric population on a psychiatric unit of a small, rural southern hospital. Most of the patients experience symptoms of dementia and are over the age of 55. Many patients presented with resistance to creative pursuits and this researcher utilized the person-centered approach to counter this “creative resistance”. In other words, the patients were met where they were at and accepted unconditionally, through empathy and congruence. The materials that were offered to this population were explored through the creative resistance as well, and a simple number two pencil produced successful results in breaking down the creative resistance. Utilizing the Kinetic House Tree Person art assessment also aided in seeing a drop in the resistance of the geriatric patient. The success of breaking down the creative resistance through a person-centered therapy approach, and careful, thoughtful selection of materials, suggests that these offerings would do well to be studied further for other populations in other areas of our United States.

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