Thesis Title

Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy and Connectedness: Art as a Means to Spiritual Care for Asian Seniors

Graduation Date

Spring 2020

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Art Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


This study used a mixed-methods approach to examine how art therapy may assist Asian seniors in staying in touch with their spirituality. This study was comprised of 30 Asian seniors, who were participated in an 8-week group on focusing-oriented art therapy (FOAT ®). The researcher hypothesized that the spiritual connection of participants would be increased as a result of the art therapy group. Expressing oneself through art in the presence of an art therapist can allow clients to explore essential issues and emotions that are related to their chronic conditions. Seniors were encouraged to explore their current concerns and strengths through an experiential process of Focusing on mental resources. By slowly transforming stress to a state of ease, the use of art as a means to foster spiritual connection was introduced. As a mean of gaining insights into each senior’s artistic experiences, individual interviews were performed after the study. The concept of spiritual direction was also discussed as the researcher proposes that the art therapist can serve as a spiritual director. Although the effect of FOAT ® was identified as statistically insignificant in this study, positive responses were drawn from participants and On Lok Lifeway workers, which were applied to gain in-depth understanding of individual experience. This study provides a framework to interweave cultural perspectives into methodological and analytic details, which aims to ally with research and therapeutic goals.

這項研究採用了混合研究的方法,來檢驗藝術治療如何幫助亞洲長者來維繫他們的靈性。這項研究由30位亞洲長者組成,他們參與了為期 8 週的澄心藝術治療(FOAT®)團體。研究人員假設,藉由藝術治療團體,參與者能夠增加靈性的連結。在藝術治療師在場的情況下,自我的藝術表達可以促使個案來探索與他們慢性疾病相關的核心問題和情緒。鼓勵長者透過關注心理資源的體驗過程,來探究他們目前的擔憂和長處。將壓力逐漸轉變為舒坦的狀態,此研究介紹了運用藝術作為促進靈性連結的媒介。為了深刻理解每位長者的藝術經歷,研究後進行了個人訪談。研究人員同時提出藝術治療師可以作為靈性指導者,因此也討論了靈性指導(spiritual direction) 的概念。即使在本研究中FOAT ® 的作用在統計學上沒有顯著的結果,但皆獲得來自參與者和 安樂居(On Lok Lifeways ) 工作人員的正面回饋,這些回饋也用於加深對個人經驗的理解。這項研究提供了一個架構,將文化觀點融合至方法和分析過程的細節中,旨在實現研究和治療目標。