Laura Bentley, Psy.D., is a 2016 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle

Dissertation Committee

Mary Wieneke, Ph.D., Committee Chair

Ann Blake, Ph.D., Committee Member

Kathryn Johnson, Ph.D., Committee Member


Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, Qualitative, professional development, doctoral psychology students, creative arts processes, psychology

Document Type


Publication Date



The goal of this qualitative study is two-fold: to explore doctoral psychology students' current sense of self-identity as clinicians (nearing graduation) and their future sense of who they hope to become as practicing clinical psychologists using a creative arts methodology and to illustrate how the use of creative arts processes have clinical relevance for not only mental health clinicians and psychologists but also educators. Seven doctoral psychology students nearing graduation participated (individually) in a guided imagery and mask-making experience and in a phenomenological, semi-structured, in-depth interview following the art making. Through the use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), an integrative, hermeneutically and phenomenologically-based interpretive research method used to analyze the narrative data, this study explored how the participants' experiences as doctoral students and who they hope to become as future clinical psychologists (Domain 1—Doctoral student as future psychologist) and their experiences about art-making and what they learned about themselves during the process (Domain 2—Guided visualization and art-making as catalysts). Results from the domain “Doctoral Student as future psychologist” suggest that the doctoral psychology students nearing graduation often feel overwhelmed with the multitude of remaining tasks and obligations influencing their ability to make future career plans and that their primary focus for the future is hope that they will have a sense of greater self-agency and a more balanced life. Results from the second domain, “Guided visualization and art-making as catalysts” indicated that the vast majority of participants appreciated the creative arts/mask-making process and also were surprised about how much they learned about themselves, how the process helped them gain insight into their own identities as future psychologists and their understanding of their own struggles while in graduate school, and provided the participants with an increased understanding about how creative arts processes can be incorporated in the field of psychology for a means of exploration of ideas and problems, not only in a mental health setting with a client but also in an educational setting for use with future doctoral students. The electronic version of this dissertation is at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, and OhioLINK ETD Center,


Laura Bentley, Psy.D., 2016.

ORCID Scholar #0000-0003-0883-5603