Thesis Title

Identifying Contemporary Feminist Awareness Through Art: The History and Role of Empowerment in a Proposed Feminist Art Therapy Working Model

Graduation Date

Spring 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

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Gwen Sanders, MFT, ART-BC


This Grant Proposal identifies the current state of feminism in America, proposing a pragmatic feminist art therapy model to raise awareness regarding the contemporary oppression of women. Illustrating the history of the feminist waves contributes to the position of American women today and the continual need for action (Bennett, 2007; Woodward & Woodward, 2009; Siegel, 2007). Asserting art therapy as a method of treatment in a feminist oriented therapy group, this grant would address the diverse facets of the contemporary female experience. Drawing from the San Francisco Bay Area population, this group would include mothers using the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center services. Centralizing on the theme of empowerment the group would aim to identify the role of power in different aspects of life. Art therapy can provide a tangible empowerment technique, allowing externalization of feelings and the opportunity to regain power through the process of making art (Halifax, 2003; Joyce 1997). Using art and discussion as methods to process experiences of oppression, the group would create a sense of community and collective awareness in response to the imperious patriarchy.