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


This research project explores the use of photography in the therapeutic setting as a means to develop one’s identity as an emerging adult. It contains a literature review that synthesizes the existing research on the developmental stage of emerging adulthood, identity formation, art therapy with adolescents, and photo art therapy. The research project is an art-based, heuristic study of the researcher’s journey of identity formation through examining old photographs and creating new ones. The findings suggest that the use of photography in the therapeutic setting can enhance one’s identity development by allowing self-confrontation through self-portraits, permitting the review of past events via archival photographs, and providing the individual with an objective view of him- or herself.