Thesis Title

Grant Project for a Group Mural Pilot Project Designed for and Supported by the Fred Finch Youth Center

Graduation Date

Fall 1989

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


Sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence contributes to the development of depression, self-destructive behavior, poor self­esteem, difficulty in trusting others, a tendency toward isolation, substance abuse, and further victimization, and is an impediment in accomplishing the adolescent developmental tasks of identity formation and autonomous functioning. In consideration of this sequelae, and of the adolescent s need for creative expression and peer group involvement, a thirteen week pilot program, designed to assess the efficacy of peer group art therapy mural work for the treatment of female adolescents who have been sexually abused, is proposed for a total cost of $2,757.00. This pilot program, replicated from a clinically sound adolescent sexual abuse treatment model, is proposed to begin in January, 1990, and is designed for female adolescent residents of the Fred Finch Youth Center in Oakland, California. The group members, via mural production, will function as a system for interaction, with feedback and interchange occuring between the internal processes of the members and the external social environment. This collective interactional and creative process will facilitate appropriate communication with peers and adults and provide models for role taking, thus supporting the adolescent in forming both personal and social identity. The process will also support the treatment goals of increasing self-esteem, reducing feelings of isolation, and delineating personal boundaries, and may enable this population to choose more healthy and satisfying living alternatives in the future.