Thesis Title

Art Therapists Experiential Interview Using Art Therapy for Individuals with Autism

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

Lisa Manthe, MFT, ATR-BC


Children with the neurological disorder known as Autism display a spectrum of developmental disabilities such as, communication difficulties, social skill deficits, and behavioral disturbances, this research examines these delays in an attempt to understand how to promote positive development for these individuals. By addressing these areas of delay early on, an individual diagnosed with Autism can perform higher functioning capabilities. The purpose of this study is to address these areas of delay through art therapy. Many art therapists that currently work with this population have found that art therapy and the creative process have been observed to positively affect the development of individuals with Autism. To understand the best practices and methods of using art therapy with this population it is valuable to consider the art therapist's individual narratives to validate and understand the most productive use of art therapy wit this population. This study explored interviews of 12 therapists who have or are currently using art therapy in their work with this population. Each of these narratives supported the positive affects of art therapy with reference to specific areas of development, and the best practices used to promote the most effective use of art therapy.