Date of Award

May 2015

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Einat Metzl


This arts-based research investigated the personal responses of a trainee art therapist working with displaced refugees in Jordan. This inquiry is based on the belief that it is important for a new trainee to cultivate a broader appreciation of cross-cultural issues for both personal and professional applications. The art-based data, analyzed through Betensky's (1995) phenomenological approach, inspired a profound exploration of the refugee experience while simultaneously exploring the role and identity of the trainee. The author presented seven prominent themes that emerged from the refugee and trainee experiences: displacement, survival, connection, loss of control, safety, competence, and countertransference. Between both refugee and trainee there are three main shared themes, (a) connection, (b) loss of control, and (c) safety, which highlight shared meeting points of empathy. The research highlights meeting points and differences between the trainee and refugees to provide a deeper understanding of the refugee experience as understood by the trainee. The results of this research strive to provide insight into the ways art-making can help trainees navigate through cross-cultural encounters.