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Reflective visual journaling during art therapy and counselling internships: a qualitative study

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This qualitative multiple case study explored four art therapy students' and four counselling students' responses to visual journaling during their internships. They maintained their journals throughout one 15-week academic semester, and were interviewed four times over the course of the study. Data consisted of transcribed interviews and photographs of participants' journal imagery. Data analysis yielded three overarching patterns: The Internship Experience Overall, The Visual Journal Experience, and Journaling Process. The visual journal facilitated the process of reflection. Participants gained insights into aspects of their experience through making art, combining it with written text and reflecting upon their journal entries. In addition, they used their visual journals for case conceptualization, addressing countertransference and stress reduction. Whereas all of the participants deemed the visual journal valuable, counselling interns had initial difficulty with visual thinking. The participants considered the combination of artmaking and responsive writing to be a particularly effective aspect of their experience.

Keywords: art therapy education; art-based learning; counsellor education; reflective journaling; visual journaling

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Graduate Art Therapy and Counseling Program, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA 2: Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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