Thesis Title

Unfolding the Story of Creativity: A Narrative-Visual Approach to Understanding the Impact of Parents and Teachers on the Development fo Creativity

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

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC


Interactions with parents and teachers have a profound effect on a child’s view of creativity, process of exploration, and evaluation of self. In a time of shifting priorities and budget cuts that could remove art programs from today’s educational system, this research attempts to locate epiphanies, turning points, and disruptions in the lifelong development of creativity by collecting childhood stories involving parents and teachers from seven ordinary adults. A combination of narrative and art- based inquiry was utilized to compare subsequent reactions of these interactions with present-day views of creativity, and to explore the long-lasting effects of positive and adverse interactions with parents and teachers. Results show that parents and teachers are primarily responsible for creativity development, with an influence that extends well into adulthood. An individual’s understanding of creativity, level of self confidence, pursuit of education and/or a career, ability to persevere after negative experiences, and style of interacting with future generations of children can be traced back to interactions with parents and teachers. This study contributes to a growing field of research on the importance of creativity development in the home and school system.