Date of Award

Spring May 2010

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 reflective case study exams the use of art as a way of giving voice to a recently immigrated adolescent regarding identity formation. This paper reviews the existing literature regarding adolescent identity development, including the difficult tasks that face minority adolescents. Art therapy literature is also reviewed considering the ways in which art therapy assists minority adolescents’ working through challenges in developing a sense of self. This paper presents the data gathered which consisted of the researcher’s personal materials such as art and journals from the adolescent period, and the reflective art that was made in response to the observation and exploration of the materials from the adolescent period. The results of study reveal obstacles in identity formation as a minority adolescent, and how the process of art making visualized these challenges. This reflective case study illuminates how art can provide a voice to immigrant adolescents during the identity formation period as a mechanism to communicate with self and others.