Date of Award

Spring 2023

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Joyce Yip Green


This study explores the impact that traditional artmaking can have on the wellness of individuals who continue to practice their traditional crafts. Limited research has explored how culturally adapted art therapy practices and culturally relevant materials can promote wellness and alleviate emotional and acculturation challenges for multicultural populations. This research included a case study approach that invited five participants who regularly engaged in a traditional artmaking practice to continue their practice for four consecutive weeks and reflect on their sense of wellness after each traditional artmaking engagement. Over the four weeks, participants completed an initial survey to assess their baseline sense of wellness, weekly surveys that included the WHO-5 Well-being Index, and a final interview over Zoom web conferencing. Through a thematic analysis of the qualitative data, the researchers recognized two overarching themes: (1) the sense of wellness through experiencing a connection to culture, and (2) connection to heritage and present-moment awareness. The survey results revealed that environmental stressors often impacted the participant’s ability to rate wellness in connection to their artmaking practice and that their practice was a helpful distraction that positively impacted wellness. This research suggests that engaging in traditional cultural art practices can increase an individual’s sense of wellness through a deeper connection to their culture and their present-moment awareness. Further studies regarding traditional cultural artmaking practices and their impact on wellness may inspire and support art therapists in decolonizing therapeutic approaches and empowering multicultural communities and individuals.

Included in

Art Therapy Commons