Women with breast cancer and gendered limits and boundaries: Art therapy as a safe space for enacting alternative subject positions
2009 (English)In: The arts in psychotherapy, ISSN 0197-4556, E-ISSN 1873-5878, Vol. 36, no 1, 29-38 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article takes its starting point from certain results from our randomized study on art therapy with women with breast cancer. Previous results from this study showed significant benefits on coping, quality of life, and symptoms for women who participated in an art therapy intervention. Analyses of interviews and diaries showed that especially women from the intervention group had distanced themselves from traditionally gendered understandings about cultural limits and boundaries. The aim of this study was to gain further knowledge about how women with breast cancer who participated in the art therapy intervention gave meaning to the gendered limits and boundaries in their daily lives, and to trace their trajectories, in therapy, towards helpful management of restraining boundaries. When analyzing the women's verbal reflections on the therapy sessions, we discerned five subject positions, defining them as follows: being someone who reacts to violation attempts; actively connecting body and self; actively locating oneself and moving forward; being in a position to see important connections throughout life; and being able to acknowledge and harbour conflicting emotions. The results of the study suggest that art therapy served as a tool that helped the women to get access to subject positions that enabled them to protect and strengthen their boundaries. This involved challenging dominating discourses and reacting against perceived boundary violations. Art therapy offered a personal, physical, and pictorial “safe space” with opportunities to deal with complex existential experiences and issues, and also make important connections throughout life. Looking back and summarizing important experiences acted as a way to prepare oneself for the future and moving forward.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Inc. , 2009. Vol. 36, no 1, 29-38 p.
Art therapy, Breast cancer, Discourse, Gender, Subject positions
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-2760DOI: 10.1016/j.aip.2008.10.001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-2760DiVA: diva2:141023