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

Paige Asawa


The purpose of this study was to explore existential group art therapy (EGAT) as an alternate or integrated method in treating clients with substance abuse and a history of trauma. Subjects for this study were male and/or female adults, ages 18 and older, volunteer participants who were in treatment for substance addiction at Tarzana Treatment Centers. A group of seven participants who met the criteria for both substance abuse and history of trauma received Existential Group Art Therapy (EGAT) treatment for eight consecutive weeks. Participants were asked to fill out the Scale for Existential Thinking (SET) at the start of the group and at the end of the treatment process to determine whether or not there was an increase in “existential thinking” following eight weeks of EGAT. The group engaged in the art-making process and discussion of their artwork each week, and were asked to answer Post Group Survey Questions (PGSQ) after the termination of the group. This study details four of the seven participants since they attended most consistently and were deeply engaged in the process. The statistical significance of the observed results was measured using a paired two sample for means T-test (one-tailed). Changes in SET scores were deemed to be statistically significant with a result of p