Terri Goslin-Jones, Ph.D.
Saybrook University

This qualitative research study explored the question, “What are the perceived effects of Person-Centered Expressive Arts on one’s work experience?” The purpose of this research was to explore the impact of Person-Centered Expressive Arts as a means to generate greater creativity within an individual and the workplace. Expressive arts is a creative process using multiple modalities such as art, movement, sculpting, music, and writing, in a safe, open and trusting environment to facilitate creative expression for individuals and groups.

Criteria for participant selection included involvement in the Saybrook Person-Centered Expressive Arts program, professional work experience, and an interest in exploring the impact of creative practices on one’s work life. Targeted sampling identified 1 male and 13 females. An in-depth, 90-minute, semi-structured interview was used to collect data. The audio-taped interviews were professionally transcribed. A shorter follow-up interview invited additional information and ensured accurate interpretation of the previous interview. Interview data were analyzed using thematic content analysis. The research investigated three topics: creativity in the workplace, meaningful work, and Person-Centered Expressive Arts.

The effects of Person-Centered Expressive Arts can be described by four major themes: change and personal transformation, deeper and more creative relationships with self and others, bridge to preverbal experiences and to creativity, and creative expression expands one’s spiritual awareness. The seven subthemes were personal growth, healing, deeper relationships, being present and experiencing flow, discovery and insight, bridge to preverbal knowledge, bridge to creative process and product.

The findings indicate that participating in Person-Centered Expressive Arts resulted in new skills that were found to be valuable in the workplace: enhanced abilities in communication, conflict resolution, creativity, decision-making, empathy, intuition, problem-solving, and maintaining relationships. Some participants described the use of expressive arts as transformational and experienced career change, greater wholeness, embodying their greater potential, and greater spiritual awareness.

The study contributed to understanding ways to use expressive arts for advancing creativity and new skills in the workplace and in other areas of life.


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