Date of Award

Spring April 2017

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 case study explores the long-term effects of domestic violence through the lens of art therapy treatment. The study is based on a twelve-week long art therapy treatment group for women who have experienced domestic violence. The study includes a literature review and a qualitative analysis of the participants’ artwork and details of their experiences of domestic violence related trauma. The research focuses on two participants and utilizes textual and visual analysis to identify four emergent themes: Family and identity, hope in moving forward, support and connection, and freedom. The findings discuss the value of art therapy in revealing coping skills, strengths and internalized fears related to domestic violence trauma. The women in the study illuminate an increase in awareness of internal resources and hopeful narratives for healing. The study demonstrates the potential of art therapy to make visible the long-term effect of domestic violence, and assist in the treatment of survivors.