Thesis Title

A Qualitative Study Utilizing Grounded Theory: themes Expressed Throughout Art Therapy Interventions with Siblings of Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Patients

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

Joanna Wallace, Phd, LMFT, ATR-BC


Families enduring the diagnosis and treatment of a child with a terminal or chronic illness, undergo dramatic changes to their family system. An advancement of medicine is the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT). The HSCT has proven to be effective in the treatment against many diseases. Although improving the ability to treat chronic illnesses is an accomplishment for the field of medicine, the psychological impact of the HSCT on families is often overlooked. In 2011, a study facilitated by art therapist, Joanna Wallace, Ph.D., evaluated the use of art therapy as a therapeutic intervention for the siblings of stem cell transplant patients. The purpose of this present study was to utilize the Grounded Method of analysis to understand common themes expressed through the siblings’ artwork collected in Wallace's 2011 study. Through these established common themes, a parallel was explored between the symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and the ability to heal through art therapy interventions. The themes collected from the sibling artwork were concluded to uphold the hypothesis, that the sibling artwork would illustrate the need for art therapy interventions with working with this population.