Thesis Title

Just of Kids, A Bilingual Substance Abuse PRevention Program Using Art Therapy with 2nd adn 3rd Graders: Increasing Self-Esteem and the Potential to Identify Familial Substance Abuse

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

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC


This grant proposes to evaluate the efficacy of a school-based bilingual substance abuse program for second and third graders in Mountain View, California located in Santa Clara County where there is a predominance of Latinos. There is an increasing need for substance abuse prevention programs for our youth as prevalence of substance use increases and the age at which youth are exposed decreases. It is important to have innovative bilingual programs, such as the Just for Kids program, which use progressive and age-appropriate ways to educate young children about drugs and alcohol. Just for Kids uses art therapy as a means to address certain factors that are considered risk or protective factors of substance abuse. The program consists of eight weekly sessions that attend to self-esteem, including expression and communication of emotions as well as self- expression in a peer group. In addition, the art therapy reveals indicators of possible familial substance abuse and the program as a whole can help to identify children that may be in need of additional counseling services.