Connection and reparation: Narratives of art practice in the lives of mental health service users
Sagan, O. (2012) Connection and reparation: Narratives of art practice in the lives of mental health service users, Counselling Psychology Quarterly, vol. 25, , pp. 239-249,
This article reports on research which set out to explore the meanings attached to community-based arts practice within the lives of individuals with enduring mental health issues. The research was a collaborative venture, with the first phase culminating in a film, which montaged the lives and works of the artists involved. The audio-visual narrative interviews yielded rich data, which may be analysed to explore a number of themes and issues pertinent to understanding this participant profile. However, this article focuses on specific strands in the narratives which enable an exploration of the meanings attached to art practice and to different forms of engagement in the arts. What such meanings may tell us about the individual's strategies for survival, recovery and positive psychological functioning is discussed. The discussion centres on how learning from narratives can be brought to our developing understanding of positive psychology and the role of art practice in well-being. The concluding part of this article looks briefly at how consideration of both positive psychology and psychotherapeutic processes can further our understanding of how art practice and its narratives impact on individuals with enduring mental health difficulties.