September 17, 2009

A Surprise Ending to Thesis Thursday: 20

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And on the 7th day….

Oh, wait… I meant to say it’s the final installment of Thesis Thursday, a weekly series of consecutive sections from my master’s thesis, Art Therapy with Type 1 Diabetic Adolescents, Non-Adherent to Treatment: A Literature Based Study! Last week was the final juicy section, Implications for Future Research, and Proposal for a Small Scale Study. Today is the Summary and Conclusions, so I’m merely wrapping it all up in a tidy bow. Once the bow is tied though, don’t forget to check the metaphorical gift tag at the end.



Based on the information gathered in this review of the literature, it can be concluded that non-adherence to prescribed self-management treatment among type 1 diabetic adolescents is common and well documented. A general understanding of the developmental reasons for this kind of behavior is in place, as is an understanding of the negative consequences of such behavior. Research documenting the medical consequences of non-adherence has consistently shown that medical outcome is contingent on diabetes self-management behaviors. Clear and successfully researched methods to address and treat the problem of non-adherence in this population seem to be missing.

Art therapy has been proven an effective method of treatment with both adolescent populations, and medical populations other than patients with diabetes. Art therapy is especially effective with adolescents because it is developmentally appropriate, and it can be effective in overcoming the resistance typical of adolescents.

Therefore it is the assertion of this paper that art therapy has the potential to be an effective method of treatment for diabetic adolescents who do not adhere to treatment. It would allow them to express their feelings and concerns related to their illness, improve problem-solving skills, and gain greater insight into themselves. Some general guidelines for a small-scale qualitative multiple case study were outlined, with the intent that the completion of such would provide information allowing further investigation of this treatment.


Short, sweet, and to the point. Tons of thanks to everyone who kept up or at least attempted as much. I know it was dry minus the occasional snarky comment, so hopefully the snark will be back in full-force next week when I have to conjure up some content that isn’t five years old. I hope those who read it, umm, I don’t know… learned something, I guess.

On that note, I had really wanted to have this news squared away in an official kind of way before I posted it here, but I think most 4-year olds have more patience than I do, and I’ve completely exhausted what little I had. Over a year ago, I interviewed with a private practice of mental health providers, mostly art therapists, about subletting space. They really liked me, or so I was told anyway, but at the time I didn’t have my art therapist registration (ATR), and they felt it was a liability to have me there minus that credential which I totally understood. I got the credential back in February, and my friend and connection there had asked a few times since then if and when I was going to join, but for reasons that elude me now, I didn’t follow up.

I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and start art therapy groups for children with diabetes in my community. The opportunities I want don’t exist, so I’m going to create them. I’ve had some vague discussions about it with my art therapy supervisor over the last couple of years, and very recently, I picked the brain of Beth Ann Short, the art therapist who guest blogged for me back in July. She runs groups at the 100th Monkey Studio in Portland, Oregon, and she graciously shared her experience and ideas with me.

The challenge has been finding a space that’s suitable, and has the basic things I need – tables, chairs, enough room for a group to work, a space that is art making-friendly so no one will yell at me for creative breadcrumbs (paint smudges, pastel fingerprints, etc.), decent lighting, access to a sink. The space will make or break art therapy, and it’s not easy to find the right space that nicely melds a therapist’s office with an art studio set-up, especially when I’m not in a position to create it myself, and I have to work with what’s available to me. The space at the aforementioned practice is more for individual therapy, but the therapist who is offering it has done some family work, so she thinks I could accommodate 5 or 6 kids. Tonight, I’m actually going to see it and talk to her. A couple of days ago, I looked at a space in another art therapist’s office, and that space would work logistically, but it’s a lot pricier. So I’ll see how it goes tonight, and make my decision within the next few days. Having to be in someone else’s space is clumsy at best, but I have to start somewhere. Of course, it’s my hope that someday I can have very own studio space.

Once I have the location set, I’ll finish the brochure I’ve been trying to put together, and once I have those, I’ll be off to clumsily market myself to area pediatric endo and general pediatric practices. Getting clients will heavily rely on their willingness to refer kids, so that part is a little uncertain. I do have some other marketing avenues I’m going to try though, and hopefully it won’t take too long to be on my way to what I truly want to do.

In light of yesterday’s post, the obvious downside is that none of this solves my health insurance problem. I’ve been leaning more and more towards investing all of my efforts in pursuing private practice since the job search has been a perpetual bust and a drain on my self-confidence – and there’s the matter of absolutely no one anywhere wanting an art therapist to work with diabetics. Really, I think this is what the universe wants me to be doing anyway. So the health insurance issue isn’t going away, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with that. As so many of us have shared, it’s a crime that we have to choose between career goals and health insurance. I suppose if I end up being worm food sooner than I’d like, at least I’ll go down fighting the good fight, doing something meaningful that will make me feel like this tumultuous journey with diabetes, depression and an eating disorder wasn’t completely for naught.

I’m just hoping this is the right path, and the other stuff will work out somehow.

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9 Responses to “A Surprise Ending to Thesis Thursday: 20”

  1. Rachel says:

    If it was meant to be, the rest will figure itself out, I’m hoping for you. :)

  2. Chris says:

    Holy sh!t, that’s awesome news. I hope this works out for you. Your future patients will be in excellent hands. Such a fitting end to Thesis Thursday.

    But what am I going to do next Thursday? If I start developing a twitch or nervous tick, I’m blaming you.

  3. Sad that TT is ending but so happy that there is a fork in the road for you!!

  4. Suzanne says:

    You are so right, you have to start somewhere and you are doing this. And by the way, you are going to great! Start shmoozing up to the endos in your areas (and their CDEs, they can really pave the way to referrals) and get those kids creating!

  5. Diabetic Children need to be taught the Diabetic difference, compared with the Non Diabetic. Reptiveness is the key for the Child to learn and understand. A reward system secures the knowledge, may it be a new bike or a loving hug, is vital. You don’t have to learn to be Diabetic, you only have to learn to control it. If you are a Diabetic you have the most vital factor in your favor. Good luck, for Diabetes is an art, it’s called paint by the Numbers.

  6. Jaimie says:

    Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.
    -Jane Addams

  7. Meri says:

    You go girl! Thank you for taking the plunge! Fingers crossed for complete and utter success in all you do for the diabetic community!

  8. Katie says:

    This is the best news ever!!! As I just tweeted… this is so needed for the diabetes community – that a talented and passionate PWD can get funding to work with CWDs and pass on her wisdom and expertise. I can’t wait to read/hear about how this goes. It feels like not only a huge step for you but for the diabetes community in general. Make sure you share your flier/site for these groups when you have them!

  9. Cherise says:

    I am excited for what your future holds! Persistance and knowing what you want out of life goes a long way!

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