Date of Award


Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Anthony Bodlovic, PhD, LMFT, ATR-BC

Second Advisor

Joyce Yip Green, PhD, LMFT, ATR-BC


This paper highlights the design and results of a research study conducted by graduate art therapy students that surveyed professional art therapists and the role that personal and clinical art making has in their practice. The study included a mixed-method approach that involved a survey of 88 graduates from art therapy programs, interviews, the creation of art by art therapists, and the creation of art responses by the graduate researchers. The researchers analyzed the data from the surveys and interviews through thematic coding and identified common themes that reflected the research questions: What is the relationship between personal art making and the development of the art therapist and What supports and barriers exist for art therapists to engage in an active art practice within and outside of clinical practice? The themes reflected the importance of having a personal art practice as an art therapist, the relationship between personal work and its impact with clients, the challenge of advocating for the understanding and inclusion of art therapy in professional spaces, and the career long evolution of the relationship between the artist and art therapist identity. These findings emphasize the barriers and supports associated with the art therapist identity.

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Art Therapy Commons