Poster Presentation 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

The Art Of Positive Emotions: Expressing Positive Emotions Within The Intersubjective Art-Making Process (#550)

Gioia Chilton 1 2
  1. Creative Arts Therapies , Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
  2. Creative Wellbeing Workshops, Alexandria, VA, United States

Emotional expression through art creation is an understudied yet key concept that undergirds the profession of art therapy. The purpose of this study was to explore the dynamics of expressing positive emotions, within the intersubjective art-making process found in art therapy. The research design utilized interactive interviews with art-making as a primary means of inquiry, employed to enlarge perception and knowledge about the expression of positive emotions through art-making processes. The participants (N=5) were adult professional art therapists from the Mid-Atlantic area of the United States. Results included visual art, poetry, qualitative themes, and a theoretical model. Based upon the findings, emergence of emotions within the intersubjective context was conceptualized as an iterative process beginning with metaphors of life and nature, the development of trust, revelations of emotion, empathic responses, reflexivity and joint artmaking creating destabilization, deconstruction, reconstruction, and reimagining of perceptions and meanings. Clinical applications included consideration of the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2004) in art therapy mental health practice, therapeutic use of art symbols and metaphors, and the use of response and joint artmaking as interventions. Creating emotional expressive artworks increased intersubjective knowledge through empathic resonance, key to psychological integration, growth and change.