Thesis Title

An art therapy approach to increase the self-esteem of Latina pre-adolescent girls using narrative therapy

Graduation Date

Spring 2016

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


John Lemmon, PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Myers, PsyD, ATR-BC,

Second Reader

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC


Research has shown that the transition from childhood to adolescence (pre-adolescence) is a period of time with increased psychological problems, especially for girls (Moksnes & Espnes, 2012). Self-esteem begins to drop in girls in pre-adolescence and further declines in adolescence (Hartz & Thick, 2005). Latina pre-adolescents face even more challenges to their self-esteem. Physical appearance is a major factor to self-esteem, especially for girls and women. Females in particular, who establish self-esteem evaluations solely on physical appearance are especially at risk for low self-esteem. Low self-esteem has been linked to a variety of psychological problems including eating disorders and body dissatisfaction. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate if narrative art therapy in a group setting would increase the self-esteem of Latina pre-adolescent girls (ages 10-12). It was anticipated the process of creating art and sharing it with peers would empower participants, increase self-awareness, increase confidence, and foster growth and support. It was hypothesized that after five weeks of narrative art therapy in a group setting the self-esteem of a group of Latina pre-adolescent girls would increase as measured by the Self-Perception Profile for Children (Harter, 2012). Participant’s artwork and group discussions were also analyzed to show increased creativity and support amongst the group members.