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

Paige Asawa


This qualitative research aimed to explore how art therapy may enhance attunement when working with families who have involvement with Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The study utilized a focus group methodology to examine the experience of two art therapists with backgrounds in treating families involved with DCFS. Through the analysis of the participants’ discussion, artwork and reflections, several subsequent emergent themes were revealed. These themes exposed various barriers within the system that may complicate the therapeutic relationship, as well as qualities within the art process, which act as an equalizer and source of containment. These themes illuminated findings that support the role of art in building attunement, as well as questions for future research regarding families with child welfare involvement.