Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Susan Myers

Second Advisor

Pamela Moussette

Third Advisor

Patrick Stack


Women who are chemically dependent and/or victims of domestic violence have difficulty identifying and expressing feelings. One of the most important aspects of recovery is learning to feel again and to talk a bout feelings.

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which the therapist utilizes visual expression as a means of communication. The most common traits of these clients are low self-esteem, depression, anger, and a sense of helplessness . By making the issues symbolic, art therapy facilitates communication and reduces confusion.

This study presents an overview of art therapy, and a training manual is included for therapists to work with women who are chemically dependent and/or victims of domestic violence.

Five art therapy modules were presented to a group of eight to ten women in a short- term treatment setting . Following the final session, clients were asked to e valuate the program by completing a questionnaire. Five professionals in the field of counseling, art therapy, and art also evaluated the manual.

Results of this evaluation demonstrated that art therapy supplements the client's basic treatment program. Art therapy provided a non-threatening, supportive atmosphere where members could build self-esteem, express emotions in healthy ways, and begin taking responsibility for their lives .