Narrative Art Therapy for Families That Have a Child With a Life-Threatening Illness

Graduation Date

Spring 2005

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

Claudia Ronaldson, EdD


Researchers have recognized the importance of meaningful collaboration between family medical and family therapy practitioners. A report published this year (2005) by the American Academy of Pediatrics spells out the need for pediatricians to be cognizant of the entire family’s needs when treating a child. Given the demands on pediatricians it seems almost impossible for them to provide psycho-social support needed by families. Therefore, a partnership between an MFT and a physician is a more realistic alternative. This proposal will offer an intervention model for working with families who have a child with a catastrophic illness. The treatment modality. Narrative Art Therapy, which has been shown to be effective in managing the psychological effects of medical illness, will address the entire family. As a pilot project six families will be treated over a two month period. The overall goal is to have the families remain psychologically healthy and intact during the course of the illness.