Mental Health-Creating Program that Integrates Text within the Art Image

Lynette Callaghan

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Mental Health-Creating Program that Integrates Text within the Art Image.

By Lynette Callaghan

This study was undertaken in response to a need, identified during the COVID-19 pandemic, for the provision of life enriching visual arts experiences to facilitate member well-being in an Albury/Wodonga medical, mental healthcare setting. An art therapy group was subsequently formed and as the group’s art therapist I created a program that integrated cathartic text within the art image to improve individual well-being. To inform my program process I exercised critical Post-Structural insight into professional associations’ research on the use of text and of artmaking to enhance mental health. Using myself as the subject I initiated creative, practice-based action research on ‘text in image’ art making to deal with my negative affect caused by the pandemic. A subsequent memory mind-map drawing was undertaken to ‘open up’ a creative arts psychoeducational dialogue on the efficacy of my process. Two case studies further informed my evaluation, the first being a ‘text in image’ secondary document analysis of artist and trauma survivor Tracey Emin’s ‘lived experience’ art work. The second case study recorded the art making response of a program participant who experienced pandemic stress (post session, with consent). My study identified stages in the art making process when ‘text in image’ was used to externalise an individual’s issues of concern. I concluded that seven cathartic stages were explored in the creation of a safe art receptacle for such concerns. The resulting art psychoeducational program based on ‘text in image’ stages enable an individual to improve self-regulation and achieve positive mental health outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Creative Practice Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


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