Art Therapy Research & Project Ideas

I guess the reason I am procrastinating on this post so much is because I am having a difficult time narrowing down ideas. I’m not sure if I’m being indecisive or just not researching creatively but on a broad scale, there are so many different ideas and concepts involving art therapy. I feel like the problem with narrowing down research topics is the fact that I actually want to have a lot of information accessible for my paper. Not just “on the surface” facts, those are great but I also want deeper understandings of the topic, I want creative outlooks. During my web browsing for topic ideas I began by first separating the two disciplines, art and psychology. Well, the thing is, I realized I found more interesting topic ideas when I researched the two disciplines as a whole.

Atomische * Tom Giebel
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My first research topic idea is, how does art therapy effect eating disorder clients? I find this topic really interesting because I have some personal experience. I am intrigued to learn more about how art therapy effects clients with different eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. I also wonder about the success rate of art therapy on eating disorder clients. I believe one of the major issues regarding this topic is the fact that everyone is different and one method of creating art may be more beneficial to one client than another client.

My second research topic idea is basically art therapy versus music therapy? Ive always been curious about music therapy and the effect it has on an individual. I know for me, I personal love listening to music and discovering how each song effects my emotions. Or the other way around, a lot of the time the music genre I listen to is based on how I am feeling in that present moment. One of the major issues that I’ve asked myself when picking out this topic, is should I try to find out if one therapy is better than the other? Or should I just compare and contrast the two different types of therapy?

My third research topic idea is considered a “wicked problem” within the art therapy spectrum. What is the cross-cultural issues concerning art therapy? I feel like one of the biggest problems with art therapy is how “radical” it may be compared to other traditional methods of therapy. However, growing up in this day and age, everything is changing in a somewhat rapid fashion. Therefore, new forms of therapy are bound to be discovered in the future generations. Also, the question of, does art therapy have the same meaning in one culture in comparison to another culture? All of this is really fascinating to me!

My fourth research topic idea is, are there more benefits to art therapy than other traditional therapy practices? Even though, I have experience and knowledge about art therapy, I’m curious to learn about the benefits and outcomes

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of other traditional therapy. One of the major problems that I have with this topic is the very broad world of traditional therapy. I feel like I would definitely have to narrow traditional therapy down to one form of traditional therapy.

My fifth research topic idea is the success rate of art therapy. I would love to read about how art therapy went for different clients, I want their opinions and their personal stories. I want to know how clients choose art therapy over other therapy practices.

For my applied project, I am very biased to say that I’ll most likely create a small exhibition in a gallery space. I will continue this watercolor surrealist painting that I have started last semester in my Advanced Drawing Class. Currently, I am still working on securing a space in the Lamson Library. My exhibition will likely be open late this fall and will possibly continue into early winter. I will also include a review sheet in my exhibition, therefore, individuals can comment and write about any questions they have on the exhibition. Some other ideas I had for my applied project included; drawing/painting my emotions at the end of each week for the rest of the semester (basically how I was feeling that particular week), put together an art journal (at the moment I am honestly not entirely sure what to include in this art journal) and the last idea I came up with is to create an Art Therapy website (not a word press site). One of the major problems I have come across when brainstorming for my applied project is what to include in these things I come up with. For example, what do I put in my Art Therapy website? Should I put information about art therapy? Or should my website be advertising my own art therapy practice? These are the questions that I will be considering when picking out what I want to do for my applied project.

3 thoughts on “Art Therapy Research & Project Ideas

  1. Can’t wait to see your exhibition! As for your research article ideas, it sounds like you have a bunch of solid brainstorming going on. I especially like the thought about cross cultural issues in art therapy, specifically about how it’s a “wicked problem.” I would definitely be keen to learn more about that.

  2. Your RA ideas are all solid, and some can certainly be combined together because they are highly related. Something like the art/music paper might give you a lot to work with (defining each field, explaining methods and science, looking at outcomes, surveying where the fields are currently), so I can really see it working, but I imagine all of them are quite likely to be successful if you feel interested and engaged enough. Are you feeling like any of these are particularly related to where you hope to go in life after graduation? Can you think about what kind of research and writing you would like to do to position yourself to be more prepared for your next steps?

    Love the exhibition idea! Definitely not a huge fan of the Art Therapy website, just since it may lead you to be claiming expertise that you don’t quite have yet, which could be maybe confusing? But anyway, sounds like you are well on your way, and I know you will do something amazing if you put in the time. Very, very excited to be part of it!

  3. I think it is a wonderful idea for you to have an art exhibition! It is an alternative way to have students up and moving rather than looking at your work (which you have probably put a large amount of effort into) ad what better way than to publicly share it on campus?! Also for your research article I liked your “wicked problem” the cross-cultural issues concerning art therapy. You write about how “growing up in this day and age, everything is changing in a somewhat rapid fashion. Therefore, new forms of therapy are bound to be discovered in the future generations”. And I felt this is so relevant in our IDS class because as active participants in this major we are already going against the “social norms” of education and graving our own why not continue with this idea of a new art therapy idea!

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