Thesis Title

A Study Exploring the Use of hte Person Picking an Apple Assessment and the Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale with Groups of Artists and Non-Artists

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

Ellen Speigel-Wackwitz, MFT, ATR-BC


This study hypothesized that there will be a significant difference between trained artists and non-artists who complete a Person Picking an Apple from a Tree (PPAT) art-based assessment, rated using the Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale (FEATS). Fifteen Artists and 15 Non-Artists participated in this quantitative study. Each participant was asked to draw “a person picking an apple from a tree" (PPAT) and complete the State Trait Cheerfulness Inventory (STCI-30) questionnaire. The data collected was analyzed looking at differences and correlations. The results indicated that the Artist group had a higher averaged score than the Non-Artist group on 9 of the FEATS scales. The Non-Artist group had a higher average score on 3 of the FEATS scales. The results for the t test showed the difference between FEATS sums (Artist vs. Non-artist) to be not statistically significant with the two-tailed P value equaling 0.3600. The Correlation between Artist group on FEATS and the STCI is a positive 0.10. The Correlation between the Non-Artist group on the FEATS and STCI was a negative -0.03. The results of this study suggest that Artists’ trained abilities aide them in scoring higher than Non-artists on some of the FEATS 14 scales; the correlation and differences are not statistically high enough to be significant.