Thesis Title

The Application of Mindfulness Based Art Therapy to Reduce Stress for Teachers

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

Ellen McCabe-Wackwitz, LMFT, ART-BC


This study tested the use of mindfulness based art therapy through the theoretical approach of Focusing Oriented Art Therapy, to reduce stress for elementary school teachers. Nineteen teachers were recruited from an elementary school located in the Bay Area, for a two-week take home exercise that included a pre and posttest using the Teacher Concerns Inventory to assess levels of stress. The intervention included a mindfulness exercise and mandala making while focusing on a positive experience within the week. Qualitative data was collected from teacher responses to the artwork and artwork was assessed using the Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale (FEATS). Quantitative data was collected from the Teacher Concerns Inventory and results from a one-tail paired samples t-test showed a statistically significant reduction in reported stress levels. These results support the hypothesis that a two-week mindfulness based art therapy exercise support stress reduction for teachers.