Date of Award

Spring April 2016

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


This research paper explores the use of creative arts therapies with children and families in a pediatric hospital setting as experienced by the therapists who provide these services. The research investigates art therapy, music therapy and dance/movement therapy at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), with an in depth consideration of the role of art therapy services in this setting. The researchers reviewed general literature regarding hospitalization, specifically its effects on children and families, availability and role of psychosocial services and the intensive care units (ICU). Literature discussing creative arts therapies (art therapy, music therapy and dance/movement therapy) was also reviewed, with a focus on art therapy and its role in medical settings with children/families, with pediatric cancer patients and in psychosocial services. Based on information gleaned from the literature review, the researchers crafted an online survey utilized to gather information regarding the experience of providing creative arts therapies in a pediatric hospital setting. The researchers conducted in-depth interviews with three selected survey respondents to further explore these experiences through interview questions and art making. The qualitative data from survey/interview responses, including the art, was reviewed and analyzed by the researchers. Analysis of the data resulted in five prominent themes from the online survey data: being present, family, support, change and identity. Four prominent themes emerged from the interview data: empowerment, culture, being present and identity. The researchers then examined these themes in the context of the general and art therapy literature. The meanings derived from these findings demonstrate the importance of continued and expanded use of creative arts therapies in pediatric hospitals.