An Art Therapy Technique of Story Making: Sandplay Story Through Digital Comic Storytelling

Graduation Date

Spring 2008

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


Gregory White, PhD

First Reader

Laury Rappaport, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC


This study introduces a new art therapy intervention called Digital Sandplay/Comic Storytelling (DS/CS). DS/CS is a new art therapy method developed to integrate sandplay with digital photography and comic storytelling. The purpose of this study was to examine whether this new art therapy method would be therapeutically beneficial to young adults in art therapy settings and to determine whether the DS/CS method would assist individuals in young adulthood who need empowerment in their lives to gain positive self-identities. The sample included 13 young adults. The quantitative and qualitative analyses that were conducted in this study included the administration of self-report questionnaires, the Identity vs. Identity Diffusion scale, personal interviews, as well as an examination of the participants’ sandtrays, photographs, and comic stories for thematic contents. In addition, the participants’ individual clinical charts were examined. The findings suggest that the participants’ Identity vs. Identity Diffusion scale scores and themes of comic stories were correlated. The data supported the hypothesis that the DS/CS method improved participants’ self- identities by allowing them to become empowered in their own lives through comic storytelling. This paper includes three case studies to demonstrate unique comic story outcomes.

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