Date of Award

Spring May 2011

Access Restriction

Campus Access only Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts


The main purpose of this qualitative research study is to explore first- and second-generation Chinese American’s immigration and acculturation experiences using semi-structured narrative interviews, inviting participants to engage in further exploration incorporating art making, a non- verbal method of expression. The research was designed to gain a greater understanding of Chinese Americans’ views and understandings of self, the experience and impact of cultural values on individuals and families, and to understand the role of communication and verbal and non-verbal modes of expression for this population. The findings are intended to potentially aid professionals working with this population: to promote greater awareness, understanding, and sensitivity to concerns of particular relevance, such as understanding the place of self-expression and expression of emotion, both verbal and non-verbal modes, and the role of value systems including traditional Chinese values, such as filial piety, interdependence and harmony, shame and face-saving reactions, and emphasis on achievement, especially in the context of family. Additionally this study contributes to the field of art therapy by exploring cultural and intergenerational considerations and the use of art in therapy with Chinese Americans.