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The Butanding: A Narrative Illustration Book and Exhibition

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My work focuses on the themes of grief, closure, and celebration of life. Life is a catalyst both celebration and grief. Feeling joy when a life is introduced is as common as feeling pain when a life is lost. When

My work focuses on the themes of grief, closure, and celebration of life. Life is a catalyst both celebration and grief. Feeling joy when a life is introduced is as common as feeling pain when a life is lost. When I lost my maternal grandmother nearly a year ago, I felt grief accompanied with guilt. I never got a chance to say goodbye since we lived so far apart, her residing in the Philippines and me residing in the United States. In order to get rid of these negative emotions, I sought closure. I attended her funeral, and now I want to celebrate her life through my artwork.
My work comes in two parts: an illustration book titled The Butanding and an illustration exhibition. The book will be published through lulu.com and made available to the public. The exhibition component will be held from March 2nd to March 6th in Gallery 100 as part of my senior exhibition Post Pre-Production with six other colleagues in the School of Art. The illustration book is a narration of a little girl and her growing friendship with a whale shark. The overarching theme of the creative project is closure with the passing away of loved ones.
The Butanding is a narrative illustration book about a young girl befriending the local menace of her village, the whale shark. Similar to my own experience, the main subject—the young girl—of my narrative is shown suffering from grief and guilt over her grandmother’s death. My work illustrates a progression of the young girl’s emotional state as she goes on a journey with the whale shark or locally known in the Philippines as the “butanding”. It provides the scenario of a grieving individual who gets the chance to reconnect with a deceased loved one and rebuild relationships that were lost.

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2015-05

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Selah: a mixed methods investigation of the impact of a mindfulness-based retreat on parents mourning a child

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A child’s death evokes intense and long-lasting grief in parents. However, few interventions exist to address the needs of this population. This mixed methods project used secondary data to evaluate the impact of a four-day, grief-focused mindfulness-based retreat on bereaved

A child’s death evokes intense and long-lasting grief in parents. However, few interventions exist to address the needs of this population. This mixed methods project used secondary data to evaluate the impact of a four-day, grief-focused mindfulness-based retreat on bereaved parents.

A quasi-experimental design with two nonequivalent groups (intervention group n = 25, comparison group n = 41) and three observations (pretest and two posttests) was used. Mixed-model repeated-measures analyses of variance were used to assess change over time for the intervention group and relative to a no-intervention comparison group. Outcome measures were depressive and anxious responses, measured by the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25); trauma responses, measured by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R); mindfulness, measured by the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ); and self-compassion, measured by the Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form (SCS-SF). The intervention group was expected to show significant decreases in psychological distress and significant increases in mindfulness and self-compassion over time and relative to the comparison group.

The qualitative component consisted of semi-structured interviews with nineteen retreat participants using a constructivist phenomenological approach in order to obtain a richer understanding of the retreat’s impact on participants’ lives.

There were significant time by condition interactions with small to medium effect sizes for the IES-R and its subscales, the HSCL-25 and its depression subscale, and three FFMQ scales (describe, act with awareness, and nonjudge), all favoring the intervention group. However, not all benefits were maintained at follow-up.

Psychoeducation and relationships emerged as key qualitative themes. Psychoeducation included benefits related to present-moment awareness, fully inhabiting grief, self-compassion, emotional equanimity, and reduced distress or judgment of distress. Relationships included benefits related to giving and receiving social support, emotional expression and sharing, validation and normalization of grief-related experiences, resonance and self-other awareness, self-appraisal, changes in relationships, and connection to a deceased child. Mindfulness seemed to be a key component in reducing trauma responses. Relationship factors, combined with psychoeducation and present-moment awareness, seemed responsible for increasing participants’ capacity for nonjudgmental acceptance of experiences.

The retreat may be an effective intervention for helping parents cope with and express their grief and warrants further study.

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2019