Thesis Title

Original and Digital AVPT: An Art-Based Assessment Comparison Study

Graduation Date

Fall 2011

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


John Lemmon, PhD

First Reader

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Doris Arrington, EdD, ATR-BC


The learning environment for the young generation has gradually shifted into a digital format including computers, video games, Touch/iPhones, television, and cell phones. This shift also needs to make its way into formats that focus on the human experience such as therapy. One primary component of therapy which is beginning to bridge into the digital area is assessment. The purpose of this thesis is to explore a digital version of an art-based assessment.

Digitalized art-based assessment has rarely been developed or researched in art therapy literature. The problem being addressed is the absence of current comparative art therapy assessment research. This study sought a professional groups’ opinion focusing on comparing the Arrington Visual Preference Test (AVPT) created by Arrington (1986), and the newly developed digital AVPT, created by this researcher.

This study hypothesized that practicing mental health clinicians would find a digital art- based assessment to be useful, due to a digital shift has occurred with the younger generation, in which digital literacy is pervasive.

Participants in this study expressed a preference for the original AVPT. Frequent comments noted the size of the “cards” on the computer as needing improvement. At the same time; however, participants favored the ease, speed, and automated response provided by the digital AVPT.