Understanding the Value of Art Prompts in an Online Narrative Medicine Workshop: An Exploratory-Descriptive Focus Group Study

Article Summary by Nancy Choe 

Narrative medicine supports healthcare training by helping healthcare workers develop narrative competence skills and use creativity through writing prompts. Narrative medicine is also used to enhance empathy and counter burnout among healthcare workers. While evidence suggests that arts-based interventions can benefit healthcare workers’ well-being and personal growth, using art prompts in narrative medicine is not well-explored or widely used. Existing research on this topic lacks consistent protocols and frameworks, making replication and validation challenging. To address these gaps, 11 participants, who completed narrative medicine training and worked in healthcare and its adjacent fields, attended an online narrative workshop with art prompts. The art prompts used three different art mediums (collage, painting, and clay) based on art therapy’s Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC) model. Participants examined their use of short 15-minute art prompts and compared them with writing prompts. How do art prompts differ from writing prompts? And what value do art prompts add to narrative medicine practice, if any? Qualitative analyses from the study revealed several findings. Art prompts in narrative medicine were found to increase positive emotions and promote creativity and insight. Specifically, art prompts allowed participants to use sensorimotor functions, enter a flow-like state, be challenged and inspired by novelty and uncertainty, and experience a sense of play and personal discovery. Overall, this study suggests that incorporating art prompts in narrative medicine can positively affect participants’ well-being and creative experiences. It opens new possibilities for using different art forms to enhance the practice of narrative medicine and improve the holistic care of healthcare providers and patients.

 

Read the full article on the Medical Humanities journal website.

 

Nancy Choe is an adjunct faculty at Loyola Marymount University’s Marital and Family Therapy with specialized training in Art Therapy. Her research interest is in technology use in therapy, digital media in art therapy, narrative medicine, arts in healthcare, and post traumatic creativity. 

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