Thesis Title

A Study of Art Therapy in Identity Exploration and Self-Efficacy

Graduation Date

Fall 2017

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


Caryl Hodges, EdD

First Reader

Jennifer Myers Harrison, PsyD, ATR-BC, DAAETS

Second Reader

Cheryl Feldman


This paper illustrates the impact of an 8-week art therapy regimen on the perceived self-efficacy of participants seeking dual diagnosis treatment for the Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). It was hypothesized that pre- and post-test results of the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults (STAIAD), and the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomology Self-Report (QIDS-SR) would reflect an increase in perceived self efficacy, and decreases in anxiety and depressive symptoms. The STAIAD and QIDS-SR were included in the study as indicators of well-being. The regimen was designed by the student researcher and focused on identity exploration through the lens of Humanistic theory. The regimen is outlined week-by-week, illustrative case studies and group responses are described, and empirical assessment of the regimen’s efficacy is provided.

Discussion focuses on the significance of results obtained and the need for further research. Paired samples testing showed an increase in perceived self-efficacy and decreases in anxious and depressed symptoms, as predicted. Small population size meant that these results were not statistically significant. However, qualitative results indicate that participants found the 8-week regimen helpful. Participants vocalized a belief that art-making provided emotional release through externalization, a tool for self-expression, and a source of pride in Self. Jungian concepts presented also resonated with participants, with some sharing with the group regarding ways in which these concepts related to themselves and provided groundwork and structure for understanding the Self.