Thesis Title

Making Meaning of Diabetes Through Art Therapy: An Adjunct to Disease Management in Pediatric Youth

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

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Ellen McCabe-Wackwitz, LMFT, ART-BC


The intent of this thesis grant proposal is to secure funding for a pediatric art therapy program for youth with diabetes. The proposed art therapy support groups will serve as an adjunct to an existing diabetes educational program located at a medical facility, outpatient clinic, or a community diabetes education program. The aim of this pilot study is the integration, evaluation of the efficiency of a therapeutic pediatric diabetes art therapy program as an integral part of diabetes education, care and disease management. The art therapy groups will provide children and adolescents therapeutic creative interventions, emotional support in helping youth make meaning of their diabetes experience, the psychosocial and psychological issues that diabetes evokes in youth living with a lifetime chronic illness. These issues will be addressed by using the therapeutic, creative process of art making, cognitive behavioral therapy, (CBT) along with mindfulness based stress reduction therapy, (MBSR). This paper presents the trajectory of diabetes, incidences of diabetes, current trends, and the analysis of the efficacy and value of pediatric diabetes art therapy program into the care, coping, toward empowerment and disease management of diabetic youth.