Date of Award
Master of Arts
Marital and Family Therapy
School or College
College of Communication and Fine Arts
Dr. Paige Asawa
The purpose of this study was to explore existential group art therapy (EGAT) as an alternate or integrated method in treating clients with substance abuse and a history of trauma. Subjects for this study were male and/or female adults, ages 18 and older, volunteer participants who were in treatment for substance addiction at Tarzana Treatment Centers. A group of seven participants who met the criteria for both substance abuse and history of trauma received Existential Group Art Therapy (EGAT) treatment for eight consecutive weeks. Participants were asked to fill out the Scale for Existential Thinking (SET) at the start of the group and at the end of the treatment process to determine whether or not there was an increase in “existential thinking” following eight weeks of EGAT. The group engaged in the art-making process and discussion of their artwork each week, and were asked to answer Post Group Survey Questions (PGSQ) after the termination of the group. This study details four of the seven participants since they attended most consistently and were deeply engaged in the process. The statistical significance of the observed results was measured using a paired two sample for means T-test (one-tailed). Changes in SET scores were deemed to be statistically significant with a result of p<0.05 and many of the results were significant at the p<0.01 level. These results which were triangulated with the analysis of the artwork, session notes and PGSQ provide preliminary support for the use of existential group art therapy with this population. Suggestions for future research would include a larger sample size with a control group, a comparison between varied duration over the course of treatment and facilitation of the EGAT by an art therapist who is not the Primary Investigator.
Liskin, Sung, "An Exploration of Existential Group Art Therapy for Substance Abuse Clients with a History of Trauma" (2016). LMU/LLS Theses and Dissertations. 295.