Patient use of images of artworks to promote conversation and enhance coping with hospitalization

Florence Gelo, Ann Carroll Klassen, Edward Gracely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: This exploratory study investigated the spiritual use of visual images of artwork to facilitate conversation with hospitalized patients regarding their experiences of illness and hospitalization, with the aim of improving patients' coping and well-being. Methods: Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with patients (n = 20), who were asked to examine a selection of paintings and to choose one to discuss with the interviewer. Results: Ninety percent of participants found the experience to be positive. Thematic analysis of patients' descriptions of their reactions to the paintings reveals multiple beneficial dimensions of spirituality during the illness experience. The findings suggest that the use of images can facilitate conversation and enhance well-being in hospitalized patients. Conclusions: Using narrative images may be a useful spiritual modality for working with hospitalized patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-53
Number of pages12
JournalArts and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015


  • interviewing
  • mental health
  • pastoral care
  • spiritual care
  • visual arts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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