Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Art

First Advisor

Patrick Openlander

Second Advisor

James D. Evans

Third Advisor

Christine Cannella


This project represents the development of a manual for the application of art therapy activities in group therapy with adolescents who have been victims of incest. The treatment model presented in the manual is based on the need of incest victims to be able to articulate and abreact the feelings associated with their abuse within the context of a supportive and empathic relationship.

This need serves as the basis for this model for two principal reasons. In the act of incest victims are treated with complete disregard for their feelings and needs. Victims are treated as objects to be used in the service of others . In time, as a reflection of the incestuous environment in which they live, victims learn to disregard their own needs and emotions.

Additionally a principal coping strategy employed by l individuals who have been exposed to traumatizing events is to dissociate from the feelings and memories associated with those events. This has the effect of limiting the victims overall ability to experience emotions. A central and necessary aspect of recovery is to learn to become emotionally responsive again. To accomplish this the memories and feelings related to the trauma need to be recalled and assimilated.

To achieve this art therapy activities are presented in four stages in the manual . These stages are meant to be used in sequence . They are designed to help clients recall and abreact their trauma.

The purpose of this manual is practical. It is hoped that the model presented here will help other therapists conceptualize and respond to the needs of adolescents who have been victims of incest .

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License