Date of Award

Spring 2018

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Jessica Bianchi


A qualitative study of the experiences and observations of 4 art therapists and 2 program directors who facilitated Camp Suzanne, a week-long art-based therapeutic program for incarcerated mothers and their children in a federal prison in California. Research on psychotherapy, art therapy, and family therapy in prison environments, with a focus on parent-child dyads, Attachment Theory, and various techniques for creating sustainable therapy with separated family units, including tele-mental health and evidence-based military protocols, informed the interviews. The research participants were interviewed individually and created art regarding the subjects of Attachment Theory with incarcerated-mother-child dyads and longevity considerations for the program. Emergent themes in the data included the impact of art-making on attachment and a variety of observable attachment styles, as well as obstacles to both attachment and longevity of Camp Suzanne. Some of the obstacles addressed include systemic challenges, continuity of care, location concerns, external support (for facilitators and for incarcerated-mother-child dyads), as well as preparatory support (psychoeducation). Various implications of these obstacles are discussed.