AHS Research Overview 2022
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MahaSaraswati Flowing in Body, Mind, Heart & Soul: Faith in Cross-Cultural Expressive Arts Therapy

A layered and decolonized divination revealing the role of spirituality in cross-cultural EXAT through autoethnography, a/r/tography, and expressive arts based research.

2022: Dissertation PhD (English)

summa cum laude


Advisor: Stephen Levine

Student: Krupa Jhaveri

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Keywords: spirituality, faith, expressive arts therapy (EXAT), divination, MahaSaraswati, ritual, handmade, autoethnography, a/r/tography, expressive arts based research (EABR), integral yoga, cross-cultural, decolonization, body, mind, heart, spirit

“Beauty is the Key?” Explore how Expressive Art uncovers humans “The Good, The True, The Beauty” to face the Chaotic World.

With the recent economic and political change in Hong Kong and the influence of the global environment, including the high-stress lifestyle, the wave of emigration and Covid-19, many people are suffering. Hong Kong people have to face the threat of death at any time and the anxiety of losing loved ones. The long-term instability in Hong Kong impacts their psychological health. People have to face turbulent times, just like meeting the unpredictable ocean. This article is to study how expressive art therapy, to create and discover the beauty of things through different forms of art, to retrieve "the true, the good and the beautiful" in people so that they have the resources to build their boats and have the ability to sail steadily in the sea and ride the wind and waves.

2022: Master Thesis (English)

cum laude


Advisor: Ka Kit Lai 

Student: Wing San Au Yeung

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Keywords: the True, the Good, the Beautiful, Expressive Art, Authentic, Empowerment, Resources, Aesthetic Responsibility, Completeness, Well-being, Salutogenesis, Christianity

The Gift Exchange: A Virtual Open Mic Series

Fear of judgment can prevent individuals from sharing their artistic gifts with others. This thesis spotlights the act of performance, integrating performance theory and expressive arts methods to expand upon the relational elements of performance. The author examines the following questions: “How can Expressive arts influence how we engage with the performing arts?” and “What can the arts practice of performance evoke in us?” This research details a series of live open mic sessions, titled The Gift Exchange, offered by the author to the public through a virtual platform. Participants engaged in active giving and receiving through performing arts, discovering authentic connections, internal validation, and further inspiration. Many LGBTQIA+ artists contributed to The Gift Exchange, uncovering themes of visibility and queer joy through the exchange of performance. This research hopes to provide expressive arts practitioners resources in performing arts, as well as performing artists perspectives in expressive arts practices.

2022: Master Thesis (English)

cum laude


Advisor: Ellen Levine

Student: Lindsey Sherman

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Keywords: Theatre, Performance, Performing Arts, Performance Theory, Gift Exchange Theory, Open Mic, LGBTQIA+, Aesthetic Reflection, Aesthetic Feedback, Aesthetic Responsibility

Let Them SHINE: A Case Study of People Suffering from Social Unrest and COVID-19 in Hong Kong Using Nature-Based Expressive Arts Therapy

Many people who suffered from the 2019 social unrest in Hong Kong and the COVID-19 pandemic have experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, leading to severe emotional and behavioural maladjustment.

In this paper, I explore how nature as co-therapist can be incorporated into therapeutic practice with the elements of self-regulation, home-coming, inner challenges, navigating to imaginary world, and embracing new possibilities (SHINE). The depressive symptoms of the participants were alleviated through their interaction with the natural environment.

In the process of change, participants have embodied new felt experiences and opened up to new perspectives.  As they became artists, through being listened to and witnessed, their self-efficacy has been enhanced, meanwhile, they received support and encouragement from the group.

2022: Master Thesis (English)

cum laude


Advisor: Lai Ka kit

Student: Yee Ming SO

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Keywords: social unrest, distinctive depressive symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder, nature-based expressive arts therapy, self-efficacy, self-confidence, social support

Pause in Art

As a COVID-19 outbreak overwhelms, Hong Kong has changed dramatically and very quickly. We experience an unusual approach to pause. Existing and living were shattered by this abrupt onslaught, and let people be in a state of fear. In this study, a sequence of visual, sound, and movement expressions was utilized to explore how engagement in the pause moment influenced participants’ articulation of a sense of awareness associated with their creative process. The research questions were, “How the EXA process can help us discover and restore our inner resources in the paused moment?” and “How does the whole therapeutic process can trigger the power of imagination to cultivate positive facing fear?”

2022: Master Thesis (English)

cum laude
 


Advisor: Lai Ka kit

Student: Ka Yim Lam

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Keywords: Pause, existence, playing and imagination, art making, inner resource

We All Breathe the Same Air Reflections From My Expressive Arts Therapy Sessions with Children and Youth on the Autism Spectrum

This paper explores the intersection of expressive arts therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD is viewed through the lense of disability rights, disability justice, and the social model of disability, and from the perspective of an artist, mother, therapist, and researcher. The guiding question for this research is, within the emergent landscape of the social model of disability and neurodiversity acceptance, what role can expressive arts therapy have in providing support for people living with autism? This thesis investigates historical theories about autism and looks at the shifting landscape of disability including current understandings that look at autism not from a social deficit model, but from a resource and strengths-based model. It is an inquiry into how EXA may be a part of this movement. My research is arts based and heuristic in nature and spans over nine years, within multiple settings, including individual work, facilitated playdates, and collaborative art events with children and youth on the autism spectrum.

2022: Master Thesis (English)

magna cum laude
 


Advisor:  R. Rasmussen-Merz, MSW, CAGS R. Wainwright, PhD

Student: Rachel Amina Rathbun

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Keywords: utism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), expressive arts therapy (EXA), autism spectrum, neurotypical, neurodiverse, normative, behaviour intervention, social deficit model, medical model, social model of disability

Reaching Out Reaching In: Dancing Toward the Inner Self

This thesis highlights the evolving relationship between Expressive Arts Therapy and dance in outreach and dance education settings. I reflect upon my emergence into the arts and transition from professional dancer and educator to expressive arts therapist. My dance facilitations with youth and seniors explore reaching out toward a collective in playful and unexpected ways, while reaching in toward toward self-discovery and freedom. The work examines how phenomenology and embodiment develop awareness and a whole-bodied approach to movement creation and art-making. By merging dance with the expressive arts, the process becomes a welcome place for intermodal discovery, creative play and collaboration. My methods include improvisation, partnering, dancing in a landscape, and interacting with art in a gallery. Students experience more confidence to encounter their artistic voice, connect to others and leave the dance studio with a sense of belonging.

2022: Master Thesis (English)

magna cum laude
 


Advisor:  Bonnie Nish

Student: Lara Barclay

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Keywords: embodiment, dance, phenomenology, play, improvisation, expressive arts, choreography, therapy, partnering

Frames in Expressive Arts Therapy: Embracing Freedom

Started with simplicity and frames, basic principles of “low skill/ high sensitivity” and “less is more” I go further. Thanks to the personal creative process, studying and experience of therapeutic and educational work with people a new significant concept of freedom arose. Freedom which appears in frames, frames which provide, set up space for freedom. In the thesis I research meanings and feelings, look for appearances of freedom in different parts of the expressive arts methodology and creative process. In the research of meanings of freedom, I pay attention to the breadth of this concept, phenomenology of freedom in a field of everyday life reflected in Russian language, as well as in fields of politics, jurisprudence, process of evolution. I also present views on freedom in psychology and psychotherapy, touching concepts of self-determination, differentiation, bonding (attachment), addiction, will, choice, subjectivity, autonomy etc. and pay special attention to the features of the process of forming and developing freedom in ontogenesis.

2022: Master Thesis (English)

cum laude

Advisor:  Varvara Sidorova

Student: Oksana Novikova

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Keywords: frames, freedom, simplicity, liberating, drawing practice, edges of freedom, ways of understanding freedom, self-determination, choice, shaping