Thesis Title

Children Dealing with Life-Threatening Illnesses Through the Use of Creative Art Therapy

Graduation Date

Spring 1997

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


This research discusses children who have catastrophic illnesses, their views about death, and how to help them cope with the emotional issues concerning their illnesses. Until recently, many children who were dying or facing life-threatening illnesses did not have any tools to help them cope with the experience of dying (Kubler-Ross, 1983). Emotional healing can be facilitated through the use of alternative therapy that incorporates art, storytelling, visualization, meditation, and dreams. Kubler-Ross (1983), Rofes (1985), Levine (1982), Jampolsky (1983), Ram Dass (1987), and Pinkson (1995) share their views on death and the dying process. This research discusses and interprets some of the experiences and art work of seven children, ages ranging from 5 to 16, in a hospital setting. This research focuses upon the images and meaning Creative Art Therapy may have for those in a hospital facility facing life-threating illnesses.