AHS Research Overview 2021
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Orienting to a New Online Culture in Business: The Integration of Intermodal Expressive Arts into Business Onboarding Process

This dissertation explores the integration of Intermodal Expressive Arts into the business onboarding process and its outcomes. I focused on the relation between experiential online onboarding programs and employee’s organizational engagement. I developed a model “Orienting to the Online New Culture” (ONC) that I recently used with recruited employees, and new role holders to observe their transitional period. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all employees entered a new, unknown space and thus became part of my research group. In my research, I implemented 14 ONC programs of 1300 hours to 101 people. Participants were mostly from Turkey, while 15% of participants from other countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Australia.

I implemented qualitative and quantitative research methods such as Art-Based Closure, Action-Based Research and in-person interviews. Overall research results showed that ONC decreased the employee’s orientation timespan and increased their sense of well-being, positive experience and engagement in the company culture.

2021: Dissertation PhD (English)

magna cum laude


Advisor: José Miguel Calderon

Student: Sinem Lanaci

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Keywords: Employee Engagement, Employee Experience, Employee’s Adaptation, Socialization, Experiential Online Onboarding Program, Intermodal Expressive Arts, Orientation Program, Positive Experience and Well-Being, Hybrid Working, Integration of Intermodel Expressive Arts in Business

Producing Change. A Creative Process of Learning by Doing

Producing Change. A Creative Process of Learning By Doing, explores the expressive arts practitioner’s role as a content producer. The Introduction describes the author’s discovery of this concoction and how such a blend was already being implemented throughout the author’s studies as an expressive arts facilitator. The literature review discusses the idea that this collaborative style of learning through the development of client-centered creations and multisensory polyaesthetic experiences may promote social, emotional, and cognitive growth. In the case studies, the author explores how in a neurodiverse population, a client’s “content creation” is brought to light by their attractors; by using expressive arts principles and aesthetics, they may in turn foster creative discoveries and experiences that assist the client’s pathway toward freedom, support, authority, and responsibility. In the final section, the author discusses what she has learned from her case studies and how to continue strengthening her findings in the future. Lastly, she concludes that the role of an expressive arts producer has become a resource, one that has also become part of her identity. The author reports that she has continued to work in this way with clients, looking forward to a larger-scale collaboration in the future, one that builds the foundation of an intermodal production company geared towards the neurodiverse community. Such a foundation would offer an inclusive environment where participants are free to play and explore, where they can make discoveries in a warm and inviting studio space with the ability to share their content to larger audiences, one click at a time.

2021: Master Thesis (English)

cum laude


Advisor: Wes Chester

Student: Cassandra Walker

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Keywords: Autism Neurodiverse Neurodivergent Intermodal Inclusion Neurotypical Spectrum Kinesthetic Tactile Producer Theater Drama YouTube Life Skills Self Determination Polyaesthetic Director Acting Content Social Media Internet Multi Sensory Social Cognitive Emotional Learning Content Creation Identity

Upcycled Creations

Upcycled Creations explores the positive impact of using recyclable materials in expressive arts therapy. The introduction encompasses the author’s discovery of her passion for upcycled art derived from her experience of living in a third world county for a decade and how upcycled art can provide new opportunities for those living in dire straits. The literature review discusses the idea that upcycled art can be used as a tool in expressive arts therapy to increase creativity, resourcefulness, environmental awareness, and resilience. In the case studies the author explores the benefits of introducing upcycled art in her expressive arts therapy sessions with youth who live in foster care. In the last section the author discusses what she has learned from her case studies, and how to continue strengthening her findings in the future. Lastly, the author concludes that as an expressive arts practitioner moving forward, she plans to continue using upcycled art and eco aesthetics in her work with the youth in foster care, as each one supports the other, demonstrating our interconnectedness to the client.

2021: Master Thesis (English)

cum laude


Advisor: Wes Chester

Student: Michelle Wolsky

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Keywords: The Positive Impact of Using Recyclable Materials in Expressive Arts Therapy

How could art-making as self-care method helps therapist grow personally and professionally

Due to the social issues of Hong Kong, there are a lot of people who have encountered emotional disturbances, myself included. I was still comforting my friends those days instead of taking care of myself well. There is a great deal of general literature on art that has the power to heal people, however, as a therapist, what is the point if I have not healed my life by arts? Using myself as an example, this paper will discuss that how could art-making as a self-care method, help a therapist grow personally and professionally. The method to carry out this study was using art-based research, phenomenological research, and heuristic research to analyze the data. A major finding is that self-care helps me grow personally and professionally, especially the ability of self-awareness is improved, and I can be more aware of my emotions and limitations. Also, it increases the self-acceptance, understood the difference between attach and connect, accept the client, set up my boundaries and stay fully present with the client.

2021: Master Thesis (English)

cum laude


Advisor: Lai Ka Kit

Student: Man Wing, Esther Wong

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Keywords: self-care, therapist, self-awareness, burnout, countertransference

 Art as Containment

In my thesis, I would like to discuss about art as containment in therapeutics angles. My conclusion of my research study was noted that a containment is very important as it can offer a safe, holding and trust environment for the clients. And if the containment is also well designed, the result can be very rewarding. As we can see from the 3 cases, the clients were placed under an environment in which they could relax and felt free. That means the therapist plays a very significant role the provision of this containment. Such an environment may not necessary be a physical space but it should be a space or an atmosphere in which the clients can open up themselves without hesitation or worry. It is believed that healing, change, connection, awareness, beauty can come forth under such containment.

2021: Master Thesis (English)

cum laude


Advisor: Lai Ka Kit

Student: Hoi Yee Chow

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Keywords: art as containment, containment, holding and safe environment, intermodal, decentering, phenomenological approach

Decentered Imaginings through Mosaic Making

Abstract This manuscript describes the impact that a “decentering process” has on everyday life, specifically using mosaic making as the decentering activity. Decentering is an expressive arts therapy term meaning to step outside of everyday life through a creative arts process. Case studies are provided in order to demonstrate the way in which decentering builds resources to deal with difficulties in everyday life and promotes a sense of belonging. The uniqueness of the mosaic craft to the transformation process is highlighted through the data and findings, showing that participant experiences of acceptance and hope reside alongside feelings of great discomfort, fear, and challenge. The centrality of creative activity, specifically of community mosaic-making within the matrix of relationships based upon an ethics of care, is critical to this study.

2021: Dissertation PhD (English)
 


Advisor: Ellen Levine 

Student: Sarah Jordan 

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Keywords: arts-based research, mosaic making, community art, architecture, clinical application, decentering, poiesis, happing, mental health, leadership,

Encender el Fuego del Alma

In this thesis I address the issue of depression and how this condition, over time, leads people who suffer from it to feel less and less energetic; generating a feeling of limitation to continue with the natural flow of their lives. Depression causes the individuals to judge themselves for their inability to change this situation, impoverishing their self-image and extinguishing their inner fire or fire of the soul, a metaphor I use to refer to the desire to live.

Through the narration of my own story, I share how life circumstances led me to fall into sadness and depression, limiting my development in different areas of normal human life. At the same time, I explain the importance of art to recover and reconnect with the ability to imagine and create.

2021: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude


Advisor: Mónica Prado

Student: Vanessa María Fátima Cruzado Cosentino


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Keywords: Depression - kindle - fire - soul- art - dragon - imagination - creativity

Expressive Arts: A story of transformation and identity

‘Expressive  Arts:  A  history  of  transformation  and  identity,’  an  expressive  arts-based
research, has as its main basis the review of the identities and idiosyncrasies that coexist
in Peru. It denotes my transition process from my first approach to music, to the stories
and the bonding with what would be my future. This project also has to do with the
adaptability to the new reality we are currently living.  
 
There is a historical and theoretical approach to the intervention of the power of the arts
in the transformation of the human being. From the field of Interdisciplinarity, I wish to
contribute to the educational community the confluence of concepts related to identities
and social change; this then becomes a tool by which I can reaffirm my role as an agent
of social change. 

2021: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude


Advisor: Ellen Levine

Student: Mariana Roggero Torres Llosa


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Keywords: Exploration, youth, identities, Peru, arts, imagination, children, adolescents, pedagogy, education, societies, personal growth, diversity, culture, integration, digital environment, adaptability, pandemic.

Expressive Arts Therapy: Explore The Effectiveness of EXA In Facilitating Communication Between Students With Intellectual Disabilities (ID) And Their Parents

Communication and social barriers are common for the students with intellectual disabilities (ID). Since it is difficult for them to express their feelings and thoughts, they may misbehave or struggle in cooperating with others whether at home or in school. Generally, their problems will directly affect their relationship with parents. A qualitative study is used to explore the effectiveness of EXA in facilitating communication between students with ID and their parents. Two 11-year-old autistic students with mild grade ID who are studying in a special education school will be selected as the targets. They participated in all individual sessions, group sessions with classmates and parent-child sessions. This research is a complex methodology approach, including phenomenological concepts, case study and art-based research. Interview with students’ parent will be arranged. The purpose of the program is to encourage students to discover their inner resources, to build self-confidences and to care others.

2021: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude


Advisor: Ka Kit Lai 

Student: Mei Yee Ko  


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Keywords: Intellectual Disability, Parent and child relationship, self-cultivation, Expressive Arts Therapy, Internal Resources, Caring

Space Transformation for Soul Survivors by Creative Language Discourse

This is a paper to explore the possibility of conducting Expressive Art Therapy in a bookstore, to turn a supposedly retail space into a healing place for people in need (I call them “Soul Survivor”). The meaning of “space” will be explored, and how the concept of space would affect the behavior and culture of Hong Kong people; and how it would affect people from different perspectives by drawing reference to literature review would be looked into. Through collecting data and conducting qualitative interviews, to explore the possibilities of using a non-clinical environment, i.e. a bookstore, namely the Breakthrough Book Gallery run by a non-government organization to provide mental health service. In that venue, an art-based research methodology, playing with words and language; opening senses when encountering images, etc. in the framework of expressive arts therapy were adopted.

2021: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude


Advisor: Ka Kit Lai 

Student: Wun Yuen Fai 


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Keywords: bookstore as a healing place

 In the Search for Beauty. From the Beauty of EXAT Theory to the Beauty of a Person

Our beauty as a part of our identity often lives in denial. We are taught to look away from it. This is a real shame and unnatural practice, as our appearance is a bodily representation of our identity, our Self, we need to respect it as all other parts of ourselves. My goal in this thesis is to show that it is really possible to start understanding, accepting and loving your beauty; in my thesis I introduce my expressive arts based work with personal “visual” identity which started in 2014 continued with a new expressive arts based research on how it works and how it may change people’s lives. I express the importance of the issue, how post-Soviet trauma and other phenomena impact the problem. I examine methodology to apply and show the practical method to deal with it.

My work is filled with admiration and praise for the beauty of expressive arts therapy theory itself. I find this theory very beautiful by its nature. I believe that it works so perfectly because of the harmony it is built upon. This is how it usually happens. The most beautiful ideas are the most practical and convenient ones. If you are looking for perfection - look for aesthetics, this strategy never fails.

2021: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Varvara Sidorova 

Student: Olga Volg-Trop


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Keywords: Beauty, individual beauty, identity, expressive arts based research, identity as poiesis, substitution model, personal aesthetics.

The Alchemy of Healing Songwriting - A participatory action expressive arts research study on the impact of creative therapeutic songwriting in times of global crisis

This research study explores the healing power of creative therapeutic songwriting in understanding and navigating times of global crisis and transition. An arts based participatory action research methodology was used to facilitate therapeutic songwriting groups in Cambodia, UK and online. The curriculum included: songwriting, recording, music production and performance, merging the rivers of expressive arts therapy and professional music production into an emergent field.

The research demonstrates the healing power of therapeutic songwriting for communities and individuals along with the ripple effect of recorded and performed songs resulting in a transformative experience for both participants and witnesses. The research resulted in new concepts including meditative songwriting, reminiscent songwriting, the role of therapeutic producer and therapeutic curator of musical performance. This emergent EXA field has the potential for further research and a raft of practice possibilities as we emerge from a global pandemic in a time of unprecedented collective crises.

2021: Ph.D. Dissertation (English)

summa cum laude

 

Advisor: Stephen. K. Levine

Student: Carolina Herbert


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Keywords: Songkites healing songwriting, performance and music production, expressive arts participatory action research study, Cambodia, UK, Online, in times of global crisis and transition, EXA, music.

An introduction to 'Lösungskunst': The Idiosyncrasies of the original ideation. - the Übersetzung eines Buches (translation of a book).

Translating as a phenomenological approach. Counseling, therapy, coaching cannot do without language. However, what is exclusively conveyed by language tends to reduce, generalize and fix the processual, the sensual-vital, and the complex. This does not apply to artistic activity - even if it is practiced with the simplest of means. The author duo Herbert Eberhart and Paolo Knill have gathered experience over decades in practice and education by intertwining language and artistic activity. The result is an approach based on systems theory that combines artistic activity as a decentering of the stressful and the deficient with a resource-oriented language and attitude. This takes into account the realization that productive reorientation requires stepping back and letting go. Detailed practical examples show the variety of concrete approaches in different settings. Connected to this is a theoretical reappraisal of the use of language, art, and play and a presentation of the epistemological and methodological roots. The limits of applicability are discussed as well as the question of teaching the necessary professional competencies.

 

The boundaries around the field of translation studies continue to expand. Concerns about the immediate reality of transplanting a text from one language into another lead to considerations about methods and perhaps even systems that could categorize the translation process. However, it has become clear that translational thinking is fundamental to all acts of human communication and that indeed all acts of communication may be understood as acts of translation. The neurological aspects of translation deserve thus further investigation.

2021: Ph.D. Dissertation (English)

summa cum laude

Advisor: Margo Fuchs Knill

Student: Wayne Sutherland


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Keywords: decentering, phenomenology, translation, decision fatigue, choice, self-regulation, self-control, decision making, executive function

Doubling the Halves: Taoism and Expressive Arts Therapy

This paper concerns the encounter of expressive arts therapy and the culture of Hong Kong. There are two basic questions that I am asking: (1) In the nowadays context of Hong Kong, characterized by chaos and fatigue caused by sociopolitical events, what are the challenges of teaching/practicing EXA in HK? (2) How can Taoism provide an aesthetic response and framework to help people understand EXA, and to a certain extent, help them practice EXA?

 

Through decentering supervision sessions, I (supervisor) and the supervisees engage the above questions. They bring questions about practicing expressive arts therapy to the sessions and I put forward the encounter of their questions and the philosophical texts of Taoism. The philosophical/theoretical themes of the texts include: wu, pu, Yu (wander), wu-wei, ch’I, the Tao, etc. In addition, the method/practice of the Taoist tradition, e.g. wandering/not-staying/fasting-of-heart/sitting-until-forgetting, will be explored along with expressive arts therapy.

2021: Ph.D. Dissertation (English)
summa cum laude

Advisor: Stephen K. Levine

Student: Ka Kit Lai 


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Keywords: Taoism, the Tao, wu-wei, expressive arts, yu, ch'i

The Wounded Healer: Chasing After the Shadows of Thin

This thesis examines how the Expressive Arts can help a person who has an eating disorder to progress in their journey towards healing through the perspective of a wounded healer: someone who has had an eating disorder and therefore can light the trodden path to healing. The thesis examines how insecure attachment to a primary caregiver, and the resulting lack of basis for feeling validated in youth, is at the root of having an eating disorder. This thesis surmises that this insecure attachment causes primordial anxiety and serves as the impetus for developing an eating disorder later on in life. This thesis uses the methodology of narrative inquiry to examine the lived stories of the researcher (through autobiography) as well as the client, A (through a case study). In narrative inquiry, the researcher is not in charge. Rather, the stories speak for themselves and have a life of their own, much like the life of the image in expressive arts therapy. This thesis tells stories of hurting, healing, and everything in between, and allows these stories to have their healing effect by being told and retold, therefore being transformed and transforming through the telling. The thesis next turns to a literature review of foundational works on eating disorders, including the biographical history of eating disorders, as well as recent literature on the subject. The thinking on how to work with eating disorders reflected in this thesis is also influenced by the pioneers of Expressive Arts Therapy. As the client, A, progressed through the arts-based body image sessions, she discovered great resources in her spirituality and in hope for her future that she could rely on to help her progress on her journey towards healing.

2021: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Markus Scott-Alexander

Student: Genevieve McNab


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Keywords:

Eating Disorders, Insecure Attachment, Narrative Inquiry, Arts-Based Sessions, Wounded Healer  

To Help and be Helped: Self-growth of Therapist through Professional Relationship with Clients and Art

Professional Relationship is a unique relationship developed between the therapist and clients. In this relationship, art plays a crucial role in shaping both parties. It is not only beneficial to the clients, but it is also crucial to self-growth of the therapist. This thesis explores how art play its roles in the professional relationship between the therapist and clients through case studies with a focus on the inner transformation of the therapist.

2021: Master Thesis (English)
 

Advisor: Ka Kit Lai 

Student: Shu Shen Tessie Yeung 


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Keywords: Self-growth, Heuristic Research, Phenomenology, Art, Transformation

“Women at Their Golden Ages” in Dialogue with Change in the Nature

Life is moving forward in a process of changes. In nature, a plant grows from a seed and gets through different distinct & in-between subtle processes in the life cycle. As a human being, changes happen once a life kicks off, driving one’s way forward in a natural flow. In response to the challenges of change, we grow up at the moments in time. This is an art based research on a group of women at their golden ages, in the process of change from the end of midlife to aging, in the interactions of horticulture and the expressive arts modalities to see what challenges they are facing, what resources they have in response to this particular phase of change.

2021: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Ka Kit Lai 

Student: Yue Ling Fion Chau 


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Keywords: Change is a challenge, an invitation for us to move on from one moment to another and we grow up in response to the moments of changes. Explore the challenges and their responses to “Change” on women at their golden ages through the Horticultural therapy (HT) and the Expressive Arts therapy (EXA). Using the phenomenological approach and methods through the intermodal art making processes, in company with the observations, have interviews and questionnaires with the clients to arrive the answers for three research questions: (1) What do “Change” in life mean to us? (2) What challenges are there when we face changes? (3) What are the resources in response to the changes?

Entering into the Unknown, Welcoming Change in Life: Working with Adults during the COVID-19 Pandemic through Expressive Arts Therapy, via the online platform

Inspired by my journey of living through three sudden changes within seven months, this thesis explores how the Expressive Arts can help find a sense of ‘freedom’ within a restricted situation. Within one of the unexpected changes in 2020 which was the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked with six participants who confirmed that their daily lives were affected. I wondered how an inquiry through the Expressive Arts Therapy process would help us discover and restore our inner resources. Threaded through this thesis is my own personal experience, together with those of the adults who felt trapped or lost because of the pandemic. This thesis explores my fascination with what is needed to face sudden change. My answer: by wishing to see the light within the darkness—the unknown. ( 如何在有限制的外在環境中找到心 中的自由空間 )

2021: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Ka Kit Lai 

Student: How Wo Howard Tsang


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Keywords: Change, Freedom, Sudden, Feeling Lost, Unexpected, Hope, Inner Resources, Uncertainty, Impermanence of Life, online, pandemic, self care, support, passion

Exploring Frame and Freedom in Expressive Arts Groups with Hong Kong youth

There is a lack of systematic description of frame and freedom. Through the expressive arts groups with Hong Kong youth, the researcher aimed at exploring how Hong Kong youth perceive frame and freedom and how expressive arts therapists reflect frame and freedom based on clinical practice via art-based research. The subjects of the study were 3 expressive arts therapy practitioners and 45 Hong Kong youths, including 15 young university students, 15 youths with psychosis and 15 youths with drug issues. They participated in expressive arts facilitated group or individual sessions. Their artwork and sharing in the sessions were used for art-based research. The findings suggest that frame and freedom coexist and are interrelated with the perspectives of the youths; and their attitudes towards the frame is influenced by their personal growth history. As expressive arts practitioners, it is important to set up a frame of the session that can foster the creativity and the safety of the clients. It is important for the therapists to stay being with the client and co-frame with the client, enabling their freedom of imagination and creation throughout the process. Expressive arts therapy theories were used to further discuss the relationship between frame and freedom based on the research findings.

2021: Master Thesis (English)
cum laude

Advisor: Ka Kit Lai 

Student: Dehui Zhou


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Keywords:  Frame, Freedom, Expressive arts, Hong Kong Youth, art-based research