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

Anthony Bodlović


This arts-based and quantitative study looked at the effects of reflective art making as a tool for stress reduction, clinical insight and therapist identity formation. Research was completed by three Loyola Marymount University, art therapy graduate students. Data was collected over nine sessions consisting of inventory scores from the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-Y), as well as artwork made in response to each participant’s client presentation. The research questions answered were: How does the reflective art-making process inform clinical identity as an art therapist? What effect did regular self-exploration have on burnout for the art therapist, as indicated by scores on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-Y) (Spielberger, 1983)? How was the process for each participant? Thematic analysis was used to identify themes and patterns within the data. Major findings suggest that reflective art making is a promising intervention for clinical insight, and art therapists’ identity formation. Furthermore, while the number of participants was not large enough to show statistical significance, there was a general decrease in anxiety among nearly all participants from the pre-test to the post-test. Practice implications are proposed and recommendations for further research are offered.