Date of Award

Spring 3-2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Debra Linesch

Abstract

This research explores the question: how does an art therapist’s understanding of God as Creator form his/her identity and inform his/her clinical practice? A review was done in the art therapy, spirituality and psychology integration, and creation theology literature to look at existing research that answers this question. A lack of information in the art therapy literature prompted the development of this study to respond to this inquiry. This involved gathering data from LMU MFT graduates who expressed in a survey that they were willing to participate in this study. Four graduates were able to attend an art workshop to explore the research question. Qualitative data was gathered from observing the participants’ process, artwork, and discussion in the workshop as well as their written reflections sent in three weeks later. This data was analyzed by looking at emergent themes that were then compared with the literature. Two significant conclusions were drawn from the data. The first was that an awareness and understanding of God as Creator can provide a unique perspective of self and others that has a considerable impact on an art therapist’s view of his/her role and approach to clinical work. The second conclusion was that there is a powerful connection between spirituality and creativity, that when allowed to enter into the therapeutic space, can enhance transformation and healing. These conclusions have important implications for the training and practice of art therapists. Further research is recommended to expand the data as well as focus on specific areas that this research was unable to cover.

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