Thesis Title

Utilizing art therapy journaling to decrease insomnia and promote sleep hygiene

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 Harrison, PsyD, ATR-BC, DAAETS

Second Reader

Carolee Stanbo, PsyD, MFT


This pilot research study examined how sleep quality in individuals experiencing insomnia can improve through the practice of cognitive behavioral therapy in combination with art therapy. The project measured how routine behavioral practices of sleep hygiene joined with creating a daily entry in an art therapy journal can reduce insomnia symptoms in individuals to promote sleep quality. The outcome of this thirty-day pilot research study demonstrated that sleep quality improved and components of insomnia symptoms decreased as a result of the CBT practice in conjunction with utilizing art therapy journaling. Although the anticipated changes did not prove to be statistically significant in all parameters of the research; the insomnia distress score and total scores did show a statistically significant decrease in insomnia symptoms. Another parameter of the pilot research study did show a statistically significant increase in sleep quality after utilizing art therapy journaling. The increases in sleep quality and decrease in insomnia symptoms supports the individual’s psychological health and well-being. This pilot research study generates further inquiry into the benefits of utilizing art therapy journaling to improve the lives of those affected by sleep disturbances.