Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Body-based Art Psychotherapy: A Case Study Addressing Trauma in a Mexican Immigrant Batterer
by Herrero, Iris, Psy.D., Alliant International University, 2018, 192; 10839297
Abstract (Summary)

This exploratory single case study assessed the effectiveness of a new body-based art psychotherapy intervention to address trauma and, thereby, promote constructive change in an individual who perpetrated inter-partner violence (IPV). The participant was a single Spanish-speaking 42-year-old heterosexual Mexican immigrant male with a history of psychological trauma. The therapy was conducted over the course of 2 years within an existential framework and addressed the following themes: relationships, childhood trauma and abuse, masculine ideology and IPV, and anger and related feelings. Furthermore, the intervention, which included a breathing practice grounded in Jin Shin Jyutsu (energy work), was implemented for the purpose of fostering the embodiment/internalization of material examined in therapy. Because breathing helps modulate affect, the breathing practice increased the client’s capacity to work through his childhood trauma and enabled him to somatically access feelings, memories, and unconscious material. It also contributed to the client’s development of insight and awareness concerning emotions and deepened his spirituality. Equally important, the intervention included an art therapy process that encouraged the client to externalize difficult feelings that he might otherwise not have been able to articulate. The Formal Elements of Art Therapy Scale (FEATS) detected the client’s depression in his artwork at a critical point in the therapy. Over time, the participant’s artwork showed changes not only in the themes depicted, but in the clarity and fluidity of the images he created. The results of this study suggest that this intervention might be a viable treatment for addressing trauma in men who perpetrate IPV. Furthermore, because this intervention increases self-awareness, self-understanding, and the motivation to change, it could be explored as a treatment for other mental health conditions, including with other populations and in group settings.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Heide, Frederick J., Backos, Amy K.
Commitee: Gerson, Samuel
School: Alliant International University
Department: San Francisco, CSPP
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Counseling Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Art psychotherapy, Body-based therapy, Breathing practice, Inter partner violence, Latino male, Psychological trauma, Somantic therapy
Publication Number: 10839297
ISBN: 978-0-438-18044-4
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