Date of Award

Spring April 2013

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

Debra Linesch


The principal objective of this paper is to explore attachment, empathy, and mentorship in a group of adolescents that participated in an art therapy based workshop. The premise for research formed when researchers participated in the week long Summer Arts Workshop (SAW) with Latino youth from a lower SES area in Los Angeles. Through the theoretical lens of attachment researchers inquired if participating in this workshop contributed to a corrective emotional experience due to the relationships with both peer and adult mentors. Utilizing the methodology of a focus group we collected data with an art therapy based directive, which aimed to uncover the impact the workshop had on the lives of four individuals who participated in the workshop each year. After the data was analyzed researchers found that SAW contributed to prosocial behavior by way of healthy attachment and increased empathic understanding. This paper supports ways community art outreach may prove to be a reparative experience for adolescents. This study may offer understandings to both therapists and educators interested in helping at-risk youth. Findings may support research indicating the artistic process enhances empathic understanding and healthy relationships with peers and adults.