Date of Award

Spring April 2017

Access Restriction

Campus Access only 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 research is a qualitative art-based case study exploring the facilitation of resilience through the observation of a resiliency-building art therapy group with adolescents. The researcher was the subject and utilized both direct and participant observation of a ten-week resilience-based art therapy group to gain a better understanding of how an art therapy group in a school setting is run. Reflective art making that mirrored the art directives given in the group were incorporated by the researcher to gain a deeper and more personal understanding of the resilience building process. The literature review covers a broad range of resilience and a variety of methods for observing therapy. The weekly art directives were based on the resilience literature and designed to develop personal strengths, self-discovery, communication, self-reliance, problem solving, flexibility, and future planning. Themes identified within the analysis include: flexibility, structure, anxiety, cohesive relationships, and creativity. The researcher found that flexibility in the co-facilitators and structure in the art therapy program are key elements in a successful group. Through this study the researcher identified the usefulness of direct and participant observation of therapy for developing clinical skills and highly recommends both be included in therapeutic training programs.