Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

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


This research uses critical theory inquiry with interviews and arts-based research to explore biases about art making in clinical art therapy practice. The literature review establishes an historical link between theoretical tenets in fields of art therapy and art history. Participants are chosen from experts in the fields of art therapy and art history. Interviews explore what art making means to each participant, utilizing both verbal and arts-based processing. The data is condensed through coding and arts-based reflection, and seven emergent themes are identified. The themes are checked with the participants for accuracy. The findings of the paper integrate the insight from the literature review with the expressed views of the participants to illuminate meaning-making processes of art. The paper concludes with identification of an “art historical lens” for practicing art therapy and discussion of treatment considerations, limitations of the study, and suggestions for further research.