Date of Award

Spring 2016

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Paige Asawa

Abstract

This study explores how Landgarten’s Family Art Assessment can provide clinicians with valuable information about families that can be used to advocate for the needs of the children in the family. A comprehensive literature review covers family assessments using art developed by Psychologists, family art assessments created by art therapists, and the benefits of using them in clinical treatment. The researcher utilized a qualitative research approach. The data gathering took the form of surveys and semi-structured interviews with clinicians at a community mental health agency following their participation/observation in a Family Art Assessment administered to a family on their caseload by a board certified art therapist. The researcher used textual analysis of the interview transcription to identify emergent themes. The emergent themes included: the impact of domestic violence, power dynamic, disconnection, and the therapist’s efforts to increase connection and communication in the family. Study findings indicate that Family Art Assessments, when used as a consultation service administered by an experienced art therapist, can serve as an invaluable tool to provide clinicians with a more complete understanding of the families they are treating quicker than verbal therapy assessment methods alone. The findings also indicate that the Family Art Assessment helped clinicians conceptualize their cases from a more systemic perspective that considers the children’s environment and relational patterns within the family as contributing to their problem behaviors and symptoms, and allowed clinicians to envision a path in treatment that included advocating for the children’s needs.

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