Alternative & Integrative Medicine

ISSN: 2327-5162

Open Access

Guided Image Art Therapy as a Problem-based Learning Tool for Stress Reduction within the Context of a Scientific Literacy Course


Hannah Cooke-Ariel

This research article describes a method for integrating stress reduction methods and skills into a university curriculum with the dual intention scientific literacy instruction and development of lifelong skills in biofeedback regulation and stress reduction. Twenty-one university students enrolled in a scientific literacy course were introduced to Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational objectives for higher order thinking processes, and subsequently encouraged to apply these higher cognitive levels of thinking to scientific method and scientific inquiry. Students and instructor designed a study, Pulse “As a Surrogate Marker for Biofeedback Regulation”, in which students became the study subjects. Students were instructed on taking pulse measurements and were assessed by instructor and by laboratory partner for skill in pulse measurement. In the second phase of this case-control study, students participated in a 50 minute guided image art therapy session. Each student acted as his/her case control, measuring pulse pre-art therapy to establish a baseline, and then measuring pulse post-art therapy session. Results revealed a clinically significant reduction in pulse in 19 of 21 student subjects. A clinically significant difference in pulse was set at greater than 5 beats per minute in difference of the mean comparison of pulse preand post-art therapy session. In conclusion, this exercise fulfilled the requirements of instruction in scientific inquiry, while offering students new mechanisms for controlling stress and regulating their individual biofeedback mechanisms. This model may serve as a template for instructional courses. The exercise was well received by students.


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