Thesis Title

Smoking Cessation and Art Therapy: A Cognitive-Behavioral and Mindfulness Approach to Quitting Cigarettes

Graduation Date

Fall 2012

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

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Carolee Stabno, PsyD, MFT


Despite many smokers wanting to quit, relapse rates remain high. Cravings and triggers play a significant role in addiction to cigarettes. Art therapy interventions can greatly assist an individual in breaking away from the compulsion to smoke by promoting meditation, mindfulness and restructuring the neural pathways associated with compulsive behavior. Currently, art therapy is underutilized in most cessation programs. Additionally, due to the difference in motivating factors and smoking styles of each individual, a comprehensive program is needed to effectively reach all those attempting smoking cessation. This study examines the motivating factors for smoking and levels of cigarette dependence of five individuals who participated in a four-week smoking cessation program that incorporates art therapy, mindfulness, psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioral therapy. The individuals completed five surveys and six art directives. Resulting data shows (1) a decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked each day for four out of five of the participants and (2) a decrease in cigarette dependence for four out of five participants. Incorporating art therapy into conventional smoking cessation programs improves success rates, but further research is needed to collect conclusive results.