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Positive Psychology and Art Therapy

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Katie Meredith

on 26 November 2013

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Transcript of Positive Psychology and Art Therapy

Positive Psychology and Art Therapy
What is Positive Psychology?
The science and applications related to the study of psychological strengths and positive emotions.
What is right about people? vs What is wrong with people?
Individual strengths
Absence of the problem is not happiness
Contributing to well-being vs alleviating suffering
Psychological state of optimal attention and engagement
Developed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
recognized this trend while studying happiness in artists
a single-minded attention existed while making art - even ignoring bodily needs
should experience flow regularly to increase and maintain happiness
Linked to creativity and improved well being
Concerns and Considerations
Confusion, misunderstanding, incorrect participation
If participants are feeling this way, flow may never be achieved
Provide structured directives, instruction, and feedback
Appropriate transition into and out of flow
inviting participants to use art materials
environment: music and lighting
Art Directives
Focus on positive experiences, emotions, and strengths
Shrine for love and humanity
Mandalas focusing on love and joy
Artwork in response to a positive event in the participant's life
Box of positive character strengths
"The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children,... their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither wit nor courage; neither our wisdom nor our teaching; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile."

-Robert F Kennedy, 1968
Rooted in ancient philosophical beliefs
Humanistic Psychology
Martin Seligman
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
Individual Strengths
Strengths Finder 2.0
Focused but effortless application of signature character strengths into overcoming challenges
Intense focused concentration
integrating action and awareness
loss of self-consciousness
increased sense of control
losing track of time
Intrinsically rewarding
How does this relate to Art Therapy?
Increase positive emotions
Promote engagement and flow
Create and identify meaning
Positive Emotions
Joy, love, contentment, and hope play a role in well-being
Lessen impact of negative experiences
Increased positive emotions after participating in art making
Art focused on positive emotions, experiences, and strengths promote increased positive emotions
Engagement and Flow
Art making can induce flow
feelings of accomplishment, control, and autonomy
Linked with positive emotions
Mastering challenges
Building an optimistic attitude by overcoming obstacles
Achieved through well-being
Create stability
Influence how one perceives and copes with adversity
Post-traumatic growth
Chilton, G. (January 01, 2013). Art Therapy and Flow: A Review of the Literature and Applications. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 30, 2, 64-70.

Rath, T. (2007). Strengths finder 2.0. (1st ed.). New York, NY: Gallup Press.

Snyder, C. R., Lopez, S. J., & Pedrotti, J. T. (2011). Positive psychology: The scientific and practical explorations of human strengths. (2nd Ed. ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Wilkinson, R. A., & Chilton, G. (January 01, 2013). Positive Art Therapy: Linking Positive Psychology to Art Therapy Theory, Practice, and Research. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 30, 1, 4-11.
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