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

Debra Linesch, PhD, MFT, ATR-BC


This paper explores the integration of art assessments with cancer patients as a tool for determining potential scholarly value. Qualitative data was collected from two clinicians who ran weekly art therapy groups with women who are undergoing or who have survived breast cancer treatment. Both groups were 10 week modules structured as open studio groups, and each clinician was subsequently interviewed by the researchers who used a series of formatted questions to assess how the four art assessments were offered to participants, how participants responded to the invitation to engage in assessments, and how the clinician’s reflected on patients’ experiences of the assessments. The qualitative data collected was assessed to deepen the understanding of how clinician’s imagined the art assessments could be clinically useful and/or potentially valuable for research. These findings were then examined and connected to findings in the literature that indicate the importance of sensitivity in regard to the unique lived experience of a cancer diagnosis, and the significance of offering control and transparency whenever possible to patients. Researchers concluded that offering art assessments in traditional context, when presented by clinicians who are attuned and considerate to the needs and impacts such assessments can have on patients, could deepen opportunities for exploring clinically efficaciousness alongside cultural and contextual sensitivity. Future research should continue to explore how clinician style can be clinically relevant and the impact art assessments could have on both research and clinical work.

Included in

Art Therapy Commons