Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Paige Asawa


This research utilized heuristic methodology to explore how the art process can facilitate resilient traits in the lived experience of a developing art therapist with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Anxiety. The protocol followed was based on the Moustakas model of heuristic research and followed the six steps in heuristic methodology. The Moustakas method of study was implemented to show how the nature of this study and the art process revealed the lived experience of the difficulties of adolescence. The art created during the immersion phase revealed the following six themes; (1) Conflict/Duality and conflicting relationships, (2) The notion of a central figure, (3) Framing/Blurring, (4) Progressive intricacy, (5) Identity/Lack of Identity, (6) Growth, Healing, and Resiliency. The art process was very effective in illuminating how resiliency was a part of the adolescent experience and assisted in assuring completion of the adolescent developmental process. It is evident that resiliency plays in important role throughout the process assisting with the navigation of the adolescent experience. The intentions of this study were to examine, reflect and explore the lived experiences of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety. The data exemplifies that even with expendable resources, supportive measures, and a loving, caring and supportive family the diagnosed adolescent can still be significantly affected. The results indicate an importance for further utilizing the art process in order to better understand and inherently inform the art therapist of the lived experiences and implications of resiliency on an adolescent living with mental illnesses. For youth at risk the resilience process is an important protective factor to be embraced, fostered, and promoted by individuals surrounding the adolescent.

produced a very small pool of volunteers; four participants. The participants were asked to answer an open-ended questionnaire and to create an art response on the subject. The art work served as a visual exploration of how art making as a form of self-care has impacted their professional journey into the world of clinical work.

The answers to the questionnaires and the visual data were compared. Themes were developed and connections to emergent themes examined. The themes which emerged from both the questionnaire and art processes combined were balance, hope and self-integration. Although a very small study, the significance of this research is the understanding that therapists struggle to find professional and personal balance, the art making process has the potential to foster hope in the art therapeutic processes, to foster hope in self as a facilitator of change and solidifies the notion that art making as an on-going self-care practice has the potential to feedback into the art therapists resiliency development