Thesis Title

A Qualitative Heuristic Art Therapy Study of Biracial Vietnamese-European Aericans and Identity Formation

Graduation Date

Fall 2010

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form

Print

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy

Dean

Lisa Bjerknes, MD, MBA

First Reader

Laury Rappaport, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Deann Acton, LMFT, ATR-BC

Abstract

This qualitative study explored the experiences of individuals who are biracial Vietnamese-European American and living in the United States. The purpose of the current study was to answer two research questions: (1) What is the experience of being biracial Vietnamese-European American and living in the United States? (2) How does the process of creating a collage help individuals communicate more about their experience of being biracial Vietnamese-European American and living in the United States? The researcher conducted semi- structured interviews with ten individuals who are biracial Vietnamese-European American and who participated in the art-based research process of creating a collage. All interviews took place in-person, and each began with the art process followed by a semi-structured interview. A phenomenological analysis of the data gathered revealed five distinct themes regarding the experience of being biracial Vietnamese-European American and living in the United States: (1) enduring discrimination and racism (2) ascribing to a dominant race/culture, (3) exploration and integration of non-dominant race/culture, (4) perspectives on Vietnam, and (5) a duty to help others. The study also indicated the power of collage as a means to visually aid in the understanding of participants’ identities and sense of self. Results imply the benefits of art therapy through the use of collage as well as a clearer understanding of the experiences of biracial Vietnamese-European Americans who are living in the United States.

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