The Experience of Open Ceramics Studio as Art Therapy for Those Who Have Suffered from Stroke or Other Acquired Disabilities

Graduation Date


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

Deborah A. Sharpe, MA, ATR-BC


Forty-one percent of adults over 65 years old in the U.S. are disabled. Using clay as Art Therapy has the potential to help disabled persons with many challenges. This research asks: What is the experience of the open ceramic studio approach as art therapy for those who have suffered from stroke or other acquired disabilities? Using a mixed methods approach the researcher developed a participant self-report questionnaire and interviews, used personal observations and participant’s completed ceramic projects in order to obtain data. Findings for this study resulted in confirmation of the author’s hypothesis - the participants, by attending the open ceramic studio once weekly, for one semester or longer, reported benefits in multiple ways: physically, socially and emotionally, and experienced an improvement in perceived quality of life.

Only available in print