The Art of Flourishing: Integrating Positive Psychology with Art Therapy to Promote Growth from Trauma
positive art therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Community Health and Preventive Medicine
Movement and Mind-Body Therapies
Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy
This capstone project analyzes potential opportunities for integration between the fields of positive psychology and art therapy in the treatment of trauma. The experience of trauma is widespread: between 60-89% of people will likely experience at least one traumatic event during their lifetime (Kilpatrick, Resnick, & Acierno, 2009; Mills et al., 2011; Resnick et al., 1993). Extensive research on trauma over the past few decades has been essential to more deeply understand trauma and recovery. Still, traumatized persons deserve the opportunity to not just survive, but flourish. After reviewing valuable historical information on both fields, four related positive psychology constructs of meaning, posttraumatic growth, optimism, and hope are discussed and practical opportunities for integration are considered. Current and well-researched interventions in positive psychology are reviewed, and a call to action is made to develop a growth-based trauma-informed art therapy approach.