Herron School of Art and Design Theses

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    Using art therapy to facilitate interpersonal relationships with LGBTQ+ adolescents in the school setting: A literature review
    (2022) Dorsch, Gracen; Misluk, Eileen
    The mental health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ+) adolescents are worsening due to the lack of available and appropriate services. It was hypothesized that the queer adolescent population would be vastly overlooked in research, thus leading to a significant lack of knowledge on how to best support them. A literature matrix was used to organize research articles and various forms of media regarding this topic. Significant findings include the following: LGBTQ+ adolescents are much more likely to experience disparities in treatment for mental health-related symptoms; safety concerns stem from historical instances of discrimination and adolescent peer conflict; therapeutic approaches, including art therapy, have documented little amounts of research among this population; and the school setting offers a safe environment for receiving therapeutic services. As hypothesized, there was a significant gap in available research pertaining to queer adolescents and their treatment. The proposed art therapy group was included to reduce this gap and offer a template for available services moving forward.
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    Overrepresented and Underserved: A Humanistic Art Therapy Group Proposal for Queer Youth in Out of Home Care
    (2024) Thompson, Dollee; Misluk, Eileen; Chopra, Natasha
    The purpose of this review was to explore existing literature on the clinical needs of queer youth in out-of-home care and propose an evidenced-based art therapy group for this population. A traditional literature review was used to gain an understanding of the needs of queer youth, protective factors, minority stress and resilience, and therapeutic approaches. The thematic analysis found queer youth in out-of-home care have experienced more disruption in the development of their physiological needs. These findings were used in the development of a six-level group art therapy proposal for queer youth in out-of-home care. The proposal addresses the needs, challenges and strengths of the population and provides art directives, materials, goals, themes, psychoeducation, and processing questions. The implications of this group proposal are to support this population through research and resources and create more evidenced based approaches for their needs.
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    Exploring Cultural Differences in Children’s Artistic Development: Comparing the United States and Japan
    (2024) Barannikova, Larisa; Misluk, Eileen; Anderson, Myrdene
    This research investigates the impact of culture on artistic development in elementary school children in the United States and Japan. A quantitative study collected drawings from six children in each of the elementary school grades of one, three, and five from both countries and rated each drawing on four developmental measures. The analysis found that children’s drawings in both cultures showed similar developmental levels according to Lowenfeld’s Stages of Artistic Development. It also found that children’s drawings in Japan in all grades had higher levels of detail and manga influence in their figure drawings compared to children in the United States. Finally, the drawings of children in Japan showed forms of spatial representation that were distinct from those of children in the United States and were not accounted for by Lowenfeld’s framework. Due to the small sample size of this study, further research is needed to assess the generalizability of these findings.
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    Understanding First-Generation College Students’ Barriers: An Examination of Art Therapy Accessibility
    (2024) Cook, Kaylin; Misluk, Eileen; McCullough, Shannon
    The following study focused on first-generation college students (FGCS) and their relationship to art therapy, specifically asking the question, “How accessible is art therapy for first-generation college students, and what potential barriers do they face when seeking services?”. The study was conducted with 141 FGCS using a mixed methods approach of both qualitative and quantitative data, allowing for the collection of demographic data and insights into FGCS’ experiences. Participants were individuals whose parents had not obtained a four-year degree, were full-time students, and currently enrolled in a large urban midwestern university. Although FGCS reported a high number of barriers, including time availability and financial constraints, participants remained open to art therapy as a mental health service. A combination of high adverse childhood experiences and low mental health service utilization rates within predominately low-income FGCS showcases a high need for the push of art therapy interventions within the community. Future research should explore integrating art therapy services into community-based university engagement events to promote art therapy, analyzing the cost and benefit of such services, and eventually conducting a resiliency-based art therapy group study.
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    The Use of a Survey to Identify Types of Self-Care That Graduate Art Therapy Students Engage in For Well-Being
    (2022) Quinn, Makenzie; Misluk, Eileen; Leeds, Chelsea
    This study aimed to identify types of self-care that graduate art therapy students engage in for their overall well-being. To learn more, 108 current graduate art therapy students completed an online survey including questions related to demographics, well-being, self-care, and barriers. The anticipated outcome that graduate art therapy students will use response art and art-making less than other types of self-care was true for response art but not for art-making. The study found that leisure activity was the most common type of self-care used among graduate art therapy students. This study resulted in ample amounts of results that can imply the importance of self-care to graduate art therapy students and could be helpful in further research towards beneficial ways to incorporate self-care within individuals' daily lives for overall well-being.
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    Effect of Transracial Adoption on Racial Identity Development : A Phenomenological Arts-Based Self-Study
    (2024) O’Rear, Hannah; Misluk, Eileen; Neubaum, Brooke
    Current conceptualizations of the impacts of transracial adoption on racial identity development lack a centering of adoptees' perspectives and, furthermore, have yet to be explored through an arts-based approach. In this study, a phenomenological self-study approach was employed, utilizing art-based processes to explore the impacts of transracial adoption on racial development. The methodological structure included six weeks of self-study exploring relevant themes pulled from the literature review, including identity, adoption, cultural identity, and emerging adulthood. Weeks 1 to 4 explored each theme individually, while the last two weeks explored the intersection of all themes combined. Art making utilized 2D and 3D materials occurred twice a week for at least an hour and was analyzed to record sub-themes post-art making. This exploration found that this structure provided a place to artistically express complicated emotions surrounding the intersecting themes related to transracial adoption and facilitated the emergence of sub-themes to consider in further research. This designed self-study structure empowers the transracial adoptee's voice, providing an outlined method that other adoptees may utilize to deepen self-identity understanding. Moreover, this research informs the greater understanding of the impacts that transracial adoption has on adoptees.
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    ZINES: A Survey to Explore Therapeutic Benefits
    (2024) Renk, Caitlin; Misluk, Eileen; Baldner, Karen
    This study explored existing literature on zines and zine culture as it relates to art therapy and mental health and aimed to investigate the benefits that members of this culture experience from participating. A mixed-method survey with qualitative and quantitative questions was conducted with adult participants who self-identified as makers and/or collectors of zines. The findings of the survey reinforced the prevalence of overlap between readers and makers in the zine community. They demonstrated a large representation of LGBTQ+ identities within zine culture and wider popularity for zines in emerging adults. Benefits participants reported experiencing included creative expression, connecting with others, and seeing representations of others like themselves. Personal narratives and visual arts were the most common themes for zines and were used in combination. The gap in the literature suggests that more research on the topic of zines in art therapy would be beneficial. The findings from the literature and survey suggest that zines may be well received by and beneficial for adolescents and emerging adults, especially those with marginalized gender and sexual identities.
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    Career Development and Exploration in Art Therapy
    (2022) Welker, Taylor; Misluk, Eileen; McCullough, Shannon
    This research explains and implements creating a proposal with art therapy and career counseling for high school systems while working with adolescents. Within the literature review, existing research has demonstrated that career counseling yields benefits in professional planning and satisfaction. The adolescence stage has many expected developmental tasks, including choosing a career about individual traits and strengths. Research also addresses influences relating to adolescent needs that may help or hinder career choices. To manage educational settings and conditions, the research discusses benefits and limitations. While research has provided understanding for career counseling, limited research combines both art therapy and career development. Art therapy research has highlighted many goals about self-awareness and empowering individuals to understand themselves. Comparisons of research on art therapy and career counseling provide evidence and information to create a program proposal for individual students. Career theories such as Holland’s Theory of Vocational Choice and Social Cognitive Career Theory go in-depth on clients' needs in this process. These theories also tie in three themes explored from existing art therapy literature, including identity, self-efficacy, and self-esteem.
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    Foraged Materials in Art Therapy: An Arts-Based Experiential Study
    (2022) Slabach, Katie; Misluk, Eileen; Leeds, Chelsea; Rush, Haley
    This arts-based experiential study was established to study the specific therapeutic benefits of foraged materials when implemented into art therapy practice and identify material properties that may be more or less therapeutically effective for individual clients. Fourteen Likert rating scales were used to measure the properties of 34 foraged materials during eight artmaking sessions. Each session included a group of three to seven foraged materials and consisted of artmaking, the photographic documentation of artwork, material property rating on the Likert scales, and a narrative documentation of the entire session. After all the material properties were rated, the results were grouped according to the rank they received within each property rating scale and each property was assessed to determine how it would affect therapeutic efficacy with different populations. Recommendations for foraged material application in art therapy practice were offered. Overall, the study resulted in a set of scales and criteria for measuring foraged material properties and how they affect an individual, as well as guidelines for incorporating foraged materials into art therapy practice with respect to material properties and population needs. Among other benefits, the application of these results will offer an opportunity to create a stronger connection between the client and the therapeutic process and make art therapy more approachable to those who are resistant to working with conventional art materials.
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    Embodied History: The Pursuit of Empathy through Women’s Work and Material Intelligence
    (2024) Ford, Allison; Robinson, Cory; Holder, Dawn; Coleman, Aaron
    Throughthe utilization of embodied histories, matriarchal traditions, and timeless materials, my artistic practice serves as a visual language that fosters empathy by inviting viewers to reflect on their own lives. This exploration encompasses themes of motherhood, domesticity, nature, memory, and place, intertwining personal narratives with universal experiences. By employing millennia-old materials such as clay, wood, and metal, imbued with rich craft histories, my work facilitates connection ans communication with others, ultimately acting as a therapeutic endeavor that nurtures empathy.