Internal Locus of Control and Retablos: The Application of Art Therapy with HIV Positive Gay Men

Graduation Date

Spring 2006

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


Retablos are paintings on tin created to honor that which inspires, to commemorate a miracle, or to make a wish. This traditional Mexican art form is rich with history and possibilities for healing. This thesis examines the history of the Retablo, and how it can be used with HIV positive Gay Latino men to foster greater sense of internal locus of control and increased quality of life. A total of six gay Latino men participated in a six- week workshop in which they created their own Retablos and answered questions surrounding themes of poverty, racism, and homophobia, and pride in their final product. The artwork was then examined for interpersonal meaning. The result of this research supports the utilization of Retablos as an art therapy intervention.

Only available in print