Thesis Title

I Feel Beautiful: A Narrative Art Therapy Group Designed to Increase Positive Body Image and Self-Esteem in Adult Women

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

Tara Cronin, MFT, LPCC, ATR-BC


Research has shown that a high number of women of all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes have problems with poor body image yet the majority of the studies and interventions are done with white, middle class college students (Grogan, 2008). The purpose of this study was to investigate the internal and external influences on body image in a group of adult women with mixed ethnicity and low socioeconomic status as well as improve the self- esteem and positive body image of the participants through the use of art directives and group discussion. The hypotheses of this study stated that after an eight week narrative art therapy group the women participating in the study would show an increase in self esteem as measured by the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSES) as well as an increase in positive body image as measured by the Body Appreciation Scale (BAS). Participant’s artwork and post group questionnaires were also analyzed to show an increase in creativity and increased sense of kinship among group members.