Date of Graduation

Summer 8-11-2017

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Science in Behavioral Health (MSBH)

College/School

School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Raffel

Second Advisor

Dr. Kelly L'Engle

Third Advisor

Rita Widergren

Abstract

The IMAGINE Project tackles the issue of stress reduction for a population that faces high stress levels due to environmental instability with co-morbidities of prior physical, cognitive, and social issues. Despite the need of stress reduction approaches in a population under these circumstances, external factors make it difficult to reduce the problem. Consequently, the lack of stress reduction skills can lead to the exacerbation of existing problems and the onset of many others. However, until basic needs such as housing and sustenance are met, stress reduction cannot be attempted effectively. Thus, the target population for this project focused on people who had their basic needs met, but retained high risk for recidivism and returning to homelessness.

Research demonstrates that the following interventions can be effective in helping people reduce and manage stress: chronic disease self-management techniques, mindfulness based stress reduction, solution-focused brief therapy, and mindfulness-based art therapy. However, these programs utilize methods that are costly and require long periods of intervention, which is not ideal for a population that has a history of homelessness, high mobility, and high attrition rates from traditional programs. The IMAGINE Project was designed based on primary and secondary research that integrated parts of multiple stress management interventions into a single approach that could provide low-barrier, accessible mindfulness strategies by engaging the population in mindfulness art activities. A pilot implementation was conducted to create the best class design that could ensure the target population gains valuable stress reducing insights through the cathartic medium of art. A detailed instructors manual was also developed to promote program sustainability.

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