Photography as Therapy: Reducing Chronic Stress in Women Experienceing Role-Overload

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

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Arnell Etherington-Reader, PhD, ART-BC, MFT


The purpose of this research is to measure the effects that photography as therapy had on chronic stress reduction in women experiencing role-overload. This project discusses stress, role-overload, art therapy, internet based research, and using photography as therapy within the perspectives of feminist and solution focused theories. A mixed method design was used to gather qualitative and quantitative results for increased reliability and validity. Questionnaires were administered in person, pre and post test, in order to measure role-overload, perceived stress levels, and feedback. The research spanned four weeks consecutively, via the internet, as an attempt to test if the use of photography can help an individual experience stress reduction, personal insight, and personal stress reducing skills. The artwork and reflections were also evaluated thematically regarding the process, content, and emotions. Quantitative results determined significant differences in stress levels pre and post test. Qualitative analysis has determined common themes that indicate positive results in personal insight, leisure time, and the willingness and ability for participants to utilize these techniques in the future. This research has significant results that contribute to current research in photography as therapy, art therapy, stress reduction, and using the internet for research purposes.