Thesis Title

Pediatric Medical Art Therapy: A Grant to Implement an Art Therapy Position to an Existing Artist-In-Residence Program

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

First Reader

Laury Rappaport, PhD, ATR-BC


This paper presents an analysis of the efficacy of art therapy, the value of medical art therapy, and the need for integrating medical art therapy into the care of pediatric patients. The history and current state of the field of Arts in Healthcare is explored, and the role of Artists-in-Residence is compared and contrasted with that of an Art Therapist. Qualitative and quantitative research papers exploring the use of art therapy are examined, in the following areas: art therapy efficacy, patient coping skills, and symptom reduction in the areas of pain, depression, anxiety and stress. Thematic amplification of literature reviews suggest that art therapy interventions are helpful in assisting patients and family systems cope with diagnosis, illness, treatment and survivorship. Art therapy can contribute to the practice and design of valuable healthcare interventions that promote the discovery of how the artistic process is integral to the treatment and management of acute injury, chronic illness and terminal diseases. Implementing art therapy into the hospital setting is a necessary step toward making hospitals a place of healing. This grant aims to create an Art Therapy position at a pediatric hospital to provide patients with art therapy interventions that are designed to meet the following goals: facilitate emotional expression, provide therapeutic support through art therapy directives, as well as assess patient anxiety, coping and resourcefulness.