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

Debra Linesch

Second Advisor

Einat Metzl


This research explores the experiences and practices of Medical Art Therapists; specifically, how working with clients in a medical setting, often as a part of a multidisciplinary team, impacts the work of an Art Therapist. Researchers reviewed the general literature regarding children and adults’ experiences of hospitalization and utilization of psychosocial services. Medical Art Therapy literature is reviewed next, emphasizing work with children, families, and adults. Informed by the literature, researchers invited Medical Art Therapists to participate in a focus group and/or follow-up survey. Researchers conducted a focus group in which participants discussed their experiences and created response art. A survey was then sent to focus group participants and other respondents who were unavailable for the focus group. Researchers identified four categories that emerged from the survey data: “art as self-expression,” “categorization of Art Therapy,” “considerations specific to the medical setting,” and “range of utility” of Medical Art Therapy. Researchers used these categories to analyze data from the focus group and response art. An additional category emerged from these two data sets: “personal experience.” The response art naturally offered another category for analysis: “features of the art.” Researchers compared findings across all data sets and discovered meanings by setting these findings in the context of the general and Medical Art Therapy literature. Further research is warranted to support expansion in the field of Medical Art Therapy.