Nursing: Complementary Therapies






Forum #1 Assignment Instructions

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Find the instructions for this week’s forum below. See the course schedule for due dates and remember Indiana is on Eastern time

Forum # 1 Instructions

According to holistic nursing philosophy, nurses must learn self-care and self-awareness before they can heal others. This week we will explore art therapy, a practice that used to express feelings, relieve stress, improve creativity, and increase self-awareness. Please see the art therapy class exercise attachment below for instructions on this activity. 

After completing the art activity post to Forum 1 the following:

  1. A self-introduction

  2. What you drew

  3. Your thought as and feelings surrounding your drawing  

  4. How this activity related to one aspect of this week’s required reading from the text book, the posted art therapy article, or the AHNA website. Cite the reading you have chose APA style meaning it must be cites both in the text with a full reference at the end of your posting.

  5. Either scan or take a picture of your drawing with your cell phone and attach it to the forum.

  6. Respond in a substantive way to at least one other  classmate. See the course schedule for due times.

Note: If you only write a paragraph you are probably not going deep enough!!

Art Therapy Exercise

The unconscious mind has a wealth of information in which to help solve problems, and this is one way to problemsolve. The language of the unconscious mind speaks (nonverbally) in colors, symbols, metaphors, etc., which are mostly right brain cognitive skills.   

For this exercise choose a drawing media (crayons, colored pencils, chalk etc…) and a blank piece of paper. Then draw one of the following:

  • An expression of how you feel when you are either angry or afraid

  • A sketch of yourself (how you see yourself either real or symbolic)

  • Close your eyes and draw a line on the paper. Then open your eyes and slowly rotate the paper around until an image appears. Complete the image with lines and color.

  • A mandala (a circular-shaped personal coat of arms with four quadrants depicting four aspects of your lives that are important to you)

  • A dream image (recurring dreams work the best here)

  • House or a tree

  • Draw whatever you wish!

Once you have finished your drawing, reflect on what your picture means, what you have gained or learned, and how you feel. You may wish to use the color guide below to help with your interpretations.  Although there are exceptions, there is a consensus among art therapists (and even psychologists) that regardless of gender, nationality, or ethnic upbringing, each color used in art therapy represents an archetypal meaning. Typically, the color selection, as well as the objects drawn (house, tree, etc.), often parallel emotional expressions of one’s mental/emotional health. The absence of a color does not mean a lack of something, rather the colors used express that which the unconscious mind wishes to covey at the time of the drawing. The following suggests associations between colors and their archetypal meanings.**

  • Red: Passionate emotional peaks (from pleasure to pain) can represent either compassion or anger.
  • Orange: Suggests a life change (big or small, and typically more positive than negative).
  • Yellow: Represents energy (usually a positive message).
  • Green and Blue: Suggest happiness and joy (blue may even mean creativity). These colors also suggest a strong sense/desire for groundedness and stability in your environment.
  • Purple/Violet: Suggests a highly spiritual nature, unconditional love.
  • Brown (and earth tone colors): A sense of groundedness and stability.
  • Black: Can either represent grief, despair, fear, or a sense of personal empowerment.
  • White: Can either mean fear, avoidance, cover-up, or hope.
  • Grey: Typically represents a sense of ambiguity, uncertainty about some issue you are working on.

 ** adapted with permission from Seaward, B.L. (2010). Mind-body-spirit stress management workbook, Boulder, CO: Paramount Wellness Institute


Self Introduction

My name is Samantha Sharp and I am a stay at home mom and nursing student. I have one daughter named Advah who is 7 almost 8 years old. Advah has Autism but is high functioning with the use of medication and multiple therapies. Once of her therapies is art therapy. This assignment was very interesting because for the first time, I was the one drawing the picture. I also have another baby girl on the way. I am currently 38 weeks pregnant and definitely ready to deliver anytime. Baby Olivia is mine and my husband’s first child together and we each have one daughter. We will have three girls, and we plan to adopt a boy in the future, if all works out according to our plan. I have a wonderful husband who is my better half and my best friend. We have two dogs Moses and Taz and a fish named Pauly. We have a wonderful and happy life and are active outdoors almost daily. It will be difficult handing a newborn and school, but I think the most difficult will be making school a priority over going for a walk outside. I think this class will help however, because I am very interested in alternative therapies before invasive therapies.

What I drew

As for my drawing, I drew a picture of the sun on the left top corner of the page with one cloud and four birds. I colored the sky blue, the birds black, the cloud white, and the sun yellow. I drew the ground green but with a brown walking path down the center with flowers on both sides of the path, one flower patch violet and the other patch purple. To the left of the path I drew a gray bunny with tiny pink ears and above the hill I drew two apple trees with red apples. In the center of the page, I wrote using a black sharpie, my daughter’s morning schedule. I had to make a new morning routine schedule to help Advah get ready in the morning when summer begins. Right now our current schedule is created for school.

Thoughts and feelings

As I was creating the picture I had a clear mind and felt love for my daughter and a desire for her success. I put the little bunny because I thought Advah would like to see a cute bunny in the morning. The flowers were because I wanted to make my picture pretty. I am not very skilled in drawing but my picture is simple and pretty. The birds are exactly how I drew them in grade school, and look like a wide lower case m in cursive. The sun is on the left and very bright and the one white cloud is almost the same size as my sun. The picture reminds me of a warm, sunny, and happy day. Starting with the sun in my picture I am radiating positive energy and the white cloud represents hope for my daughter to begin a good day. The green grass and blue sky suggests that I require a stable environment for my daughter. The small amount of red suggestions compassion, the purple violet flowers show my unconditional love, and the grey represents my uncertainty of how my daughter’s day will truly go (Seaward, 2010). The meanings for the colors I chose are very accurate in my opinion.

Related to weekly instruction

Requests for alternative therapies is on the rise (Fontaine ,2011). The use of antibiotics and pain medication are being overused and abused and people are looking for a safer, less addictive approach. According to the American Holistic Nurses Association (2016), there is a growing need for a holistic approach in hospital settings. Art therapy is one way to allow the unconscious to become known (Hansel et al., 2012). This can allow for a clearer assessment on the patient and assist in providing a more natural solution. Art therapy can also be used to eliminate stress, allow emotional release, increase self awareness, and provide peace of mind (Hansel et al., 2012). Holistic nursing provides a complete care in nursing. Even when using medicine or other medical treatments, alternative therapies can complete the patient care. The total human being being treated rather than the one medical issue can lead to greater awareness of self and others (Fontaine, 2011).




AHNA. (2016). American Holistic Nurses Association Home Page. Retrieved May 16, 2016, from (Links to an external site.)

Fontaine, K. L. (2011). 3. In Complementary and alternative therapies for nursing practice (4th ed., pp. 37-43). Hammond, IN: Julie Alexander.

Hensel, D., Bradburn, T., Kelly, A., Manahan, I., Merriman, H., Metzinger, F., & Moore, H. (2012, September 24). Student Impressions of an Art Therapy Class. Retrieved May 16, 2016, from

Seaward, B.L. (2010). Mind-body-spirit stress management workbook, Boulder, CO: Paramount Wellness Institute

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