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


Medical art therapy is a specific type of art therapy practiced primarily in settings where clients are actively ill or in recovery from a medical procedure. This heuristic study will seek to support the advancement of growth in this field, a wide spread use of medical art therapy in every setting catering to the medically or chronically ill. The researcher used her own medical records from a 10-year bout with illness, childhood to late adolescence, to stimulate the production of data in the form of journal entries and artwork. The data collected was then analyzed through both a clinical and personal lens to determine the existence of themes or patterns not only in the artwork, but also in the perceptions of the child then battling illness and now being assessed by their adult self. This research not only supports the benefits of utilizing art making/art therapy in processing and recovering from chronic illness but also in using the heuristic method of research to answer deeper questions from the perspectives of the clinician and the participant simultaneously.