Thesis Title

Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy and Stress Reduction with Veterans Living in Transitional Housing

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

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC


Veterans living in a transitional housing facility participated in an eight-week mindfulness-based art therapy group with the goal to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, as well as increase mindful awareness and well-being.

The results indicated that depression, anxiety and stress reduced over the course of the group and additionally, the veterans reported subjective experience of reduced symptoms and increased coping skills. Present moment awareness increased slightly. Art analysis indicates qualitative changes in the veteran’s self portraits including shifts in energy levels such as increased energy and shifts in mental health status. This research shows promising benefits for teaching veterans to manage symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress by using art therapy and mindfulness.