Thesis Title

GREAT: Open Studio Program to Assess and Treat PTSD in Veterans

Graduation Date

Spring 2014

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

Linda Chapman, MA, ATR-BC


The intent of this thesis grant proposal is to secure funding for an art therapy program serving veterans with PTSD. The proposed art therapy support group provides an alternative to existing treatment programs offered by veteran’s medical facilities and as an adjunct to community educational treatment programs, with a goal towards making therapeutic art therapy services an integral part of assessing and ameliorating PTSD. Art therapy group sessions will provide veterans an opportunity for creative and emotional expression with an aim to help individuals make meaning of their traumatic experiences. These issues will be addressed through the therapeutic, creative process of art making, combining Gestalt therapy, along with mindfulness based stress reduction therapy, (MBSR) and Talwar’s (2007) Art Therapy Trauma Protocol (ATTP). This paper presents the biological, cultural, and psychological impact of traumatic experience on individuals. There is a potential to create a manual after the pilot program data is analyzed.