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

Paige Asawa


This research utilized heuristic methodology to explore how the art process can facilitate resilient traits in the lived experience of a developing art therapist with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Anxiety. The protocol followed was based on the Moustakas model of heuristic research and followed the six steps in heuristic methodology. The Moustakas method of study was implemented to show how the nature of this study and the art process revealed the lived experience of the difficulties of adolescence. The art created during the immersion phase revealed the following six themes; (1) Conflict/Duality and conflicting relationships, (2) The notion of a central figure, (3) Framing/Blurring, (4) Progressive intricacy, (5) Identity/Lack of Identity, (6) Growth, Healing, and Resiliency. The art process was very effective in illuminating how resiliency was a part of the adolescent experience and assisted in assuring completion of the adolescent developmental process. It is evident that resiliency plays in important role throughout the process assisting with the navigation of the adolescent experience. The intentions of this study were to examine, reflect and explore the lived experiences of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety. The data exemplifies that even with expendable resources, supportive measures, and a loving, caring and supportive family the diagnosed adolescent can still be significantly affected. The results indicate an importance for further utilizing the art process in order to better understand and inherently inform the art therapist of the lived experiences and implications of resiliency on an adolescent living with mental illnesses. For youth at risk the resilience process is an important protective factor to be embraced, fostered, and promoted by individuals surrounding the adolescent.