A Grant Proposal for Reflecting the Relationship: Using Partner Art Mirroring to Enhance Relationships

Graduation Date

Spring 2004

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


Lizbeth Martin, PhD

First Reader

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Gwen Sanders, MFT, ART-BC


This grant proposal hopes to research the use of an art therapy directive in which couples are asked to mirror each other while drawing. In child development, the primary caregiver communicates recognition and attentiveness by reflecting non-verbal behaviors, including facial expression and body language. This attentiveness continues to be important, and intimate romantic relationships come to be the focus for finding validation. The developers of the Circumplex Model have identified three characteristics of relationships that are predictive of healthy functioning: cohesion, flexibility, and communication. A single-subject quasi-experimental design will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of having partners mirror each other during the art-making process as a mechanism for developing the three factors identified by the Circumplex Model. Effectiveness will be measured by using the MACES scale developed by the creators of the Circumplex Model. Subjects will be cohabitating romantic couples who are generally well functioning, but who are interested in an opportunity for relationship enhancement.

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