Date of Award

Spring May 2012

Access Restriction

Campus Access only Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Debra Linesch


The objective of this project was to examine if art therapist utilize art making in their own professional and personal processing and if so could it feedback into their resiliency as art therapists. Another aim was to give graduate students the opportunity to voice their joys, fears and doubts regarding entering the field of Clinical Art Therapy. Finally, it was also a desire that the research aid in understanding what students need in support of enhancing, expanding and/or maintaining self-care practices while developing their clinician identities. A qualitative method was applied. The subjects for this research consisted of art therapy second year students from the 2010-2012 art therapy cohorts. An email was sent to approximately twenty-three students and 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.