Life-Story Book Program: An Art Narrative Approach to Make a Life-Story Book of Japanese American Former Internees

Graduation Date

Summer 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

Ellen Speigel, MA, MFT, ATR-BC


Little research on mental health needs has been conducted on people of Asian descent in the United States. This study will be conducted on Japanese Americans who were former internees in concentration camps during WWII. Many former internees have not discussed their experiences with others because of cultural rules and lack of social interest. These survivors are growing older and disappearing every day without passing their valuable information to younger generations and researchers. This study will use narrative art techniques to create a book based on their life including internment camp experiences. The process can provide the chance for accessing, externalizing, verbally and nonverbally processing their closed past rather than holding their past quietly within. The study will consist of 20 former internees, age 67 or above, who will participate in 10-12 weeks of individual life-story book program with pre and post book creation interviews and possible sharing either in individual or group presentations sponsored by a Japanese American Senior Service Center.

Only available in print