Date of Award

Spring April 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

Paige Asawa


This qualitative research study presents an examination of the role that art making fulfills in the recovery efforts following the development of a physical disability due to a trauma. Preexisting literature informed the current study on art making’s ability to manage psychological and physical stressors that can accompany the development of a physical disability due to a trauma experience. The current study utilized a focus group to gain a better understanding of art making’s benefits by obtaining firsthand accounts from individuals with experience incorporating art making in their own recovery process. Data collected during the focus group suggests that the art making process is beneficial as part of the recovery efforts. Data showed that art making possesses the ability to aid with the processing of psychological and physical stressors encountered during recovery, and functions as an integrative process that helps individuals to accommodate their new identities. Such findings suggest that the inclusion of art therapy, of which art making is the core foundation, can be a beneficial component to incorporate into recovery efforts.