Thesis Title

Multicultural Competence in Art Therapy: A Pilot Survey

Graduation Date

Spring 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


Arnell Etherington, PhD, MFT, ATR-BC

First Reader

Laury Rappaport, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Bobby Vaughn, PhD


The research sought to determine if art therapists believed their education and training had prepared them to be multiculturally competent professionals, what art therapists believe is necessary to be multiculturally competent professionals, and if the participants had been exposed to topics that would increase their multicultural awareness. A pilot survey was developed to collect participant answers and opinions on these topics. The results of this study showed that the majority of the participants believed that multicultural competence is important in the practice of art therapy, yet the majority of respondents sometimes felt multiculturally competent; their coursework somewhat helped to prepare them to work with their clinical populations, and that they were somewhat satisfied with their coursework, despite being exposed to various topics in graduate education that could help to increase their multicultural awareness. Continued research on art therapists’ options of multicultural competence education, practice, and training would benefit the fields of art therapy and mental health, and would greatly contribute to the growing body literature.