Thesis Title

Digital Art Therapy with Older Adults: An Exploration of the iPad as a Medium

Graduation Date

Fall 2013

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


The intent of this grant proposal is to secure funding for a digital art therapy program for older adults at a local community center. With the growth of the elderly population in the US as well as the continued inundation of technology in our society, it will offer a means of bridging the gap between the two in order to address the psychosocial and psychological needs of older adults. Art therapy group sessions utilizing iPads and art- based applications will introduce older adults to both digital devices and the creative process over an eight-week period. Quantitative assessment pre and post-intervention and qualitative analysis of the artwork created will be used to evaluate the efficacy of integrating digital art therapy methods within a senior group setting. The goal is to increase older adults’ comfort level with technology, sense of mastery, and emotional and psychological well-being. This paper presents the elderly as a population and issues that confront them in modem society, specifically the rising presence of technology in their daily lifestyle. It also explores the adaptation of contemporary art practices and technology in the field of art therapy as well as relative ethical considerations.