Nature of Hope

by Eleanor Madeley

This qualitative study focused on an arts-based group with activities framed in positive art therapy. It was a group case study of five women who recently experienced domestic violence in a rural community. It explored the following thesis question. What is the function of holding a feminist positive art therapy frame with a short-term group in a women’s emergency shelter? The methodology was feminist arts-informed research. I used a first-person voice to describe the women’s experiences and my experiences holding the group. Benefits included being in relation, hope and transformation, and expression of self and empowerment. This involved: enabling women in pacing themselves, reframing their experiences, being present in their process, increasing their sense of self-mastery, symbolizing their internal experiences, empowering the women in their process, as well as in documenting positive art therapy based activities. Further development and exploration within the relatively new field of positive art therapy and trauma work can be built upon from this thesis by using a larger participant base, longer time frame, as well as incorporating more mindfulness, nature, and natural materials.