Exploring the Efficacy of Transpersonal Art Therapy in Fostering Postraumatic Growth with Young Adults Aging Out of Foster Care

Graduation Date

Spring 2015

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

Jennifer Harrison, PsyD, DAAETS, ATR-BC

Second Reader

John Rettger, PhD


The intent of this thesis grant is to secure funding for a transpersonal art therapy group with young adults aging out of the foster care system. The grant proposes to integrate Tedeschi & Calhoun’s (2004) concept of post-traumatic growth with the modality of group art therapy in a transpersonal framework, in the hopes of instilling a sense of permanence and connectedness to ultimately reduce symptoms associated with trauma. The author reviews current research relating to the prevalence and treatments available to those suffering common effects of complex trauma and posttraumatic stress in the foster care population, as well as the additional complications accompanying the emancipation process upon coming of age. The group will serve as an adjunct to recruiting and support services offered for at-risk transitional young adults associated with an established foster care organization. This paper provides the overall progression of foster care while exploring the efficacy of transpersonal psychology and group art therapy as methods of healing.

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