Thesis Title

Art Therapy Group for Depressed Mothers in Substance Abuse Remission

Graduation Date

Fall 2010

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


Lisa Bjerknes, MD, MBA

First Reader

Laury Rappaport, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Don Stannard-Friel, PhD


The primary objective of this research grant is to offer an art therapy group designed to reduce depression and improve parenting effectiveness in early mothers with substance abuse problems. Mothers who suffer from depression and substance abuse disorders have many obstacles in their lives when it comes to their everyday mental health, their recovery, and their ability to be a good parent to their babies. This research grant hypothesizes that an art therapy group conducted for early mothers suffering from a dual diagnosis of substance abuse remission and depressive disorders will show a decrease in symptoms of depression and substance abuse disorders, and will, in turn, improve their basic parenting effectiveness. It also seeks to answer the following question: What impact does an art therapy group with depressed mothers in substance abuse remission have on improving the parenting effectiveness and the parent-child relationship. The Epiphany Center of San Francisco is the sponsoring agency for this grant proposal. The Epiphany Center is a donation based center which works with improving the mental health and quality of life of women, babies, and families. This grant, if funded, will allow this population of women to explore coping techniques for their disorders, develop solutions to their life obstacles, improve their self esteem, and, in turn, become more effective mothers.