Date of Award

Spring May 2014

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


This phenomenological study examines the impact image-making experiences had on the leadership restructuring of a women’s religious congregation. Six Catholic women religious ranging in ages 65-85 participated in an arts-based workshop informed by art therapy theories to explore the meaning of making art during their Province Chapter meetings in which leadership restructuring was on the agenda. In addition, 42 of the 80 Province Chapter delegates responded to a survey about their experience. The data collected includes the survey, the workshop process, the images made by the six participants, their verbal sharing about their image, and their written reflections. Five common themes emerged from the study which speak to the impact the imagemaking process had on the organization’s leadership restructuring. Increased participation, enhanced communication, emergence of new ideas and insights, awareness of feelings, and embracing a sense of mystery or unknowing each affected the re-organizational process in a different way. The findings imply that art therapy theories and art therapists can benefit not only individuals in the clinical setting but also organizations and communities.