Date of Award

Spring 2021

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Debra Linesch


This heuristic research project examines my personal use of art making as a form of self-care while interning in a pediatric hospital. The review of the literature investigates the concept of self-care and the use of art making as a therapeutic outlet for working art therapists, for professionals in the healthcare field, and for art therapy students working specifically in hospital settings. The literature suggests that self-care is a necessary process, that self-care is not just for the physical self, but also for one’s mental health. The literature also indicates that art therapists have found that art making as a specific self-care modality is demanded. The research then contains my own personal use and record of art making as a way to support myself while working as an art therapy trainee at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I gave myself the structure of making response art once a week on site for 15 weeks. The data includes said weekly art responses, as well as any written responses or observations made during art making. The patterns I found pertain to similarity in the materials used, the visuals created, and the contexts of each image. By actively making response artwork, I was able to deepen my understanding of the importance of art making for the art therapist. In addition, this research highlights the importance and responsibility that comes with self-care as an art therapist, and additionally, heuristic research in art making as a form of active self-care could be especially beneficial for the art therapy student.