Thesis Title

Art Therapy in Hospice and Palliative Care Setting

Graduation Date

Fall 2012

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

Gwen Sanders, LMFT, ATR-BC


Hospice and palliative care patients are those diagnosed with a terminal illness. Often these patients experience a great deal of physical and emotional pain, and high levels of anxiety. By using art therapy in the hospice setting, patients will have the opportunity to create an outlet to express or contain the feelings that they may otherwise have difficulty vocalizing. Art therapy can be used as a tool for an alternative form of communicating feelings. The purpose of this research is to find out if the use of art therapy in hospice patients is beneficial for the improvement of their patient’s quality of life. The hypothesis of this research is to find if art therapy will have any beneficial factors in improving the quality of life of individuals under hospice care and palliative care. This study has proved to show the positive aspects art therapy brought to the patients in their current state. Using the creative aspect of therapy showed to improve participants outlook and opened their minds to new ideas and ways of being active in their life.

For other art therapist interested in continuing this study, this researcher highly recommends having more participants for the research and the ability for flexibility in the art therapy sessions.