I recently completed my thesis as a requirement for my Art Therapy and Counseling degree from Ursuline College. It was an amazing experience and I’m thankful to all of the participants that shared their stories and expressed themselves through the art making process.
“Understanding the Experience of Adult Children of Alcoholics Using Interviews and Art Expression”
This qualitative thesis attempts to gain a better understanding of the lives of Adult Children of Alcoholics. Fourteen participants were interviewed and asked to complete a questionnaire and art task relating to the effects of alcohol dependence in their families of origin. The interview focused on family roles, the effects of their parent’s alcohol use on their daily lives, and coping skills. Two questionnaires were used during the interview process. One assessed the severity of parental alcohol use and the other determined whether the participants had grown up with other adverse childhood experiences. The art task was used to explore individual characteristics of their family members. The author of this thesis also included a personal reflection. Results of this research discovered common themes among participants. These themes included: the responsible and peacekeeper childhood roles, current issues of monitoring one’s drinking, difficulty expressing emotions within relationships, struggling with intimacy, control issues, abnormal parental relationships, and parental unpredictability. It also supported the idea that art can be used as a way to represent family dynamics. Seven photographs of participant’s artwork are included in this study.