Thesis Title

Memories in the Making: An Art Therapy Group for Individuals Diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or a Related Form of Dementia

Graduation Date

Fall 2009

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


Arnell Etherington, PhD, MFT, ATR-BC

First Reader

Laury Rappaport, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Arnell Etherington, PhD, MFT, ATR-BC


The purpose of this grant proposal is to request funding for the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association to support Memories in the Making, an art therapy program for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's. People with AD are faced with a number of symptoms ranging from severe cognitive decline to behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, all of which affect quality of life for the patients and their caregivers. Historically, Alzheimer's has been treated primarily with pharmacological interventions; but recently clinicians are taking a closer look at a more comprehensive treatment approach for this population, including more non-pharmaceutical, psychosocial, environmental, and creative therapies.

Memories in the Making is an art therapy program designed for individuals with Alzheimer's disease that capitalizes on non verbal interventions for individuals with declining language and communication abilities. The proposed research over a period of twelve weeks will study the impact of the Memories in the Making art therapy groups on the well-being of the participants involved in the program. The hypothesis of this research grant is that the Memories in the Making Art Therapy Group will promote well-being and improve quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.