Thesis Title

Longing for Beloning

Graduation Date

Spring 2016

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy

Dean

John Lemmon, PhD

First Reader

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

Abstract

This mixed-methods research project exhumed the therapeutic benefits of random acts of kindness utilizing art in heightening social connectedness and sense of belonging in women. Life satisfaction, happiness, physical well-being and mental health become missing elements resulting in conditions where empathy and compassion are absent. Random acts of kindness are of benefit in providing a social environment and can increase the feeling of belongingness. Researchers evaluated effects of three consecutive random acts of kindness within a week and incorporating art making to visualize the kind acts on increasing social connectedness. Pre and post-tests were given to measure change in the level of empathy and compassion; these results were not significant. The qualitative data including participants’ artwork and journals were analyzed through interpretive analysis to search for themes. Qualitative data revealed that the opportunity to exhibit kind acts in action and depiction increased participants’ belongingness and social connectedness. Further research is suggested to develop more tools in art therapy related to kind acts and social connectedness.

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