Title

From heuristics to phenomenology: Lessons learned in studying the healing properties of writing

Location

Merritt Room

Start Time

2-10-2015 10:45 AM

End Time

2-10-2015 12:15 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Heuristic research (Moustakas, 1990) has unique application to the study of occupation given its individual and collective focus on a particular construct, experience, or phenomenon. Though similar to phenomenology, each has its own distinct design, methodology and application through which self-discovery, personal growth, and collective understanding may be derived. Heuristics provide a unique approach by which occupational science and its constructs may be studied.

A three phase research project was conducted to explore the occupation of personal writing, its influence on the development of the self and healing properties experienced within individual and collective writing activities. Haertl (2008, 2014) emphasized the importance of the written word in coming to understand the self, others, and personal experience. Ero-Phillips (2015) expanded upon previous inquiry on the occupation of writing to consider collective understandings of culture through written expression. Initial phases of the research involved a heuristic process analyzing 30 years of the primary author’s personal poetry and journal writing followed by heuristic interviews of 9 lifetime writers who in accordance with heuristic methodology became co-researchers in the analytical process (Haertl, 2014). Lessons learned within the heuristic process included the importance of developing rapport, opening oneself to the possibilities within the co-researcher relationship while maintaining research boundaries, and consideration of the training needs of researchers involved in the process. Outcomes of the original research led to expansion on the study of the healing properties of writing through phenomenological interviews of 12 persons with mental illness who regularly engaged in collective and personal writing activities.

This presentation will briefly focus on the three phase research process, study results, lessons learned in applying heuristics and phenomenology to the study of occupation, and will conclude with a discussion of potential application to occupational science.

References

Ero-Phillips, A. (2015). The healing properties of writing for persons with mental

health issues. Master’s Thesis, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN.

(Sophia link to be assigned)

Haertl, K. H. (2008). Journaling as an assessment tool in mental health

occupational therapy. In B. Hemphill-Pearson (Ed.). Assessment in

occupational therapy mental health. (2nd ed, pp. 61-80). Thorofare NJ:

Slack Publications.

Haertl, K. H. (2014). Writing and the development of the self—heuristic inquiry:

A unique way of exploring the power of the written word. Journal of Poetry

Therapy, 27, 55-68.

Moustakas, C. (1990). Heuristic research: Design, methodology and

applications. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

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Oct 2nd, 10:45 AM Oct 2nd, 12:15 PM

From heuristics to phenomenology: Lessons learned in studying the healing properties of writing

Merritt Room

Heuristic research (Moustakas, 1990) has unique application to the study of occupation given its individual and collective focus on a particular construct, experience, or phenomenon. Though similar to phenomenology, each has its own distinct design, methodology and application through which self-discovery, personal growth, and collective understanding may be derived. Heuristics provide a unique approach by which occupational science and its constructs may be studied.

A three phase research project was conducted to explore the occupation of personal writing, its influence on the development of the self and healing properties experienced within individual and collective writing activities. Haertl (2008, 2014) emphasized the importance of the written word in coming to understand the self, others, and personal experience. Ero-Phillips (2015) expanded upon previous inquiry on the occupation of writing to consider collective understandings of culture through written expression. Initial phases of the research involved a heuristic process analyzing 30 years of the primary author’s personal poetry and journal writing followed by heuristic interviews of 9 lifetime writers who in accordance with heuristic methodology became co-researchers in the analytical process (Haertl, 2014). Lessons learned within the heuristic process included the importance of developing rapport, opening oneself to the possibilities within the co-researcher relationship while maintaining research boundaries, and consideration of the training needs of researchers involved in the process. Outcomes of the original research led to expansion on the study of the healing properties of writing through phenomenological interviews of 12 persons with mental illness who regularly engaged in collective and personal writing activities.

This presentation will briefly focus on the three phase research process, study results, lessons learned in applying heuristics and phenomenology to the study of occupation, and will conclude with a discussion of potential application to occupational science.