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Connection in Isolation

Research Open House 2022

Emily Ann Surabian, MPS Art Therapy and Creative Development ’21
Stephanie Condra
School of Art, Art Therapy and Creative Development

Connection in Isolation used a heuristic art-based approach as I explored the effects of telehealth on the therapeutic relationship and therapeutic presence on the field of art therapy through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

two rows of three drawings and paintings of the six total participants.
Artwork created by participants, responding to a set prompt regarding the transitions around telehealth.

Although at the time of writing the pandemic is far from over, I was able to recruit five participants, all practicing art therapy during the pandemic in the United States, while conducting a series of interview questions and an artmaking directive via an encrypted and HIPAA compliant telehealth platform, Doxy.Me.

researcher's artwork is a collage of text and painting clips connected with string.
Artwork created by Emily Surabian in order to better understand research information.

Through this work, I discovered the varying sense of control, connection, communication, and contradiction that the body of participants (and myself, alike) had been experiencing, and how this sense of awareness affects the therapeutic relationship and therapeutic presence when working with clients via telehealth.