Emerging Identity

by Marnie Delanghe

This research will examine the value of art therapy as a treatment model in a men’s long-term recovery community. A hermeneutic phenomenological analysis will be used to evaluate a case study of one group participant in a nine-week art therapy group. Recovery from addiction requires a thorough exploration of the self and the patterns in addiction. Dual-diagnosis and schizophrenia will also be examined as contributing factors in treatment, and the issues that may arise. This research is focused on Phase 3 of a four phase model for treatment (elaborated on in Appendix A), when residents have finished a psycho-education model and now engage in a therapeutic process. At this point in the program, residents will have spent between five and seven months in an intense treatment process and may have identified or worked through many of their pertinent issues. Many will have shared their stories and have been witnessed by others in the group. This thesis highlights the value of the group as a witness, as well as a mirror, to one man’s (Tommy) journey through his artwork to uncover his past and newly emerged identity from addict to artist, and from isolator to community member. Throughout the art therapy sessions, Tommy enthusiastically engaged, which allowed him to identify and move through some of his issues in a creative and touching way.