Thesis Title

Felt Art: A New Art Therapy Modality?

Graduation Date

Fall 1997

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form

Print

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy

Abstract

This study presents data using a different art therapy modality, that of felt art. The suitability and value of this medium was examined with a small group of elementary school children. Felt art is based on some of the theoretical premises of sandplay therapy, particularly the use and development of symbols. Felt art encourages clients to choose a colored background board, select cut out felt figures, images and symbols, and place them on the board to create a picture or scene. The board acts as a container upon which the client may play out unconscious themes, feelings or fantasies in a similar manner to the sandtray. Four male and four female elementary school clients with mild to moderate behavioral difficulties participated in the study and each completed three felt board scenes using felt images and symbols. Specifically the study explores the repeated use of symbols, the development of a theme through the content of the pictures, and the metaphoric stories elicited. Photographs were taken of the scenes created in the individual sessions and were examined for symbol repetition, theme development and stories, the results of which were entered on coding sheets. A rationale and detailed description of this adjunctive or alternative therapeutic modality for certain populations is presented. The findings suggest that felt art may enhance the development of symbols and personal metaphor for certain young clients.

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