Thesis Title

Art Response to Confusion, Uncertainty, and Curiosity During Group Art Therapy Supervision

Graduation Date

Fall 2016

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Art Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


This research project used a causal comparative design to examine differences between intact groups of graduate art therapy students using art as a response to emotions and sharing the art during group supervision. There is scant research on group art therapy supervision thus in this study the variables of curiosity and psychological mindedness were analyzed. Utilizing art making as a tool to understand emotions in response to working with clients therapeutically provides both an implicit, internal focus on the self in relation to others that is then evaluated in an explicit, external context of group supervision, where these emotions are shared. Forty participants completed response art as well as pre- and post-test inventories of the Curiosity and Exploration Inventory-II, subscales of stretching and embracing, and the Balanced Inventory of Psychological Mindedness, subscales of interest and insight. Data were analyzed using Wilcoxon rank sum test and Spearmen’s rho correlations. While findings were limited due to the small sample size, nonparametric measures, and confounding variables, findings confirmed that stretching and interest showed significant increases. Students later in their practicum showed an increase in embracing while group size of four or less had greater increases in insight. Insight increased early in the research study and decreased significantly at the end of this present study, suggesting that as students learn they develop a more humble stance of not knowing. Future research would benefit from a qualitative inquiry to identify and understand aspects of creating art in response to clients and sharing it in supervision.