Thesis Title

Art Therapy With Adolescent Marijuana Users: A Means of Promoting Insight

Graduation Date

Summer 1998

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 paper presents a research project examining the effects of group art therapy with adolescent marijuana users on their insight into marijuana abusing behavior. Seven students from an alternative high school in the South Bay participated in 30 group art therapy sessions. Before and after the treatment they answered a questionnaire as a measure of insight that asked for consequences, reasons, problems and the amount of marijuana use. The results of the questionnaire showed an increase of insight into reasons for marijuana use and problems with marijuana use, and a decrease of insight into the consequences of marijuana use. Nevertheless, five out of seven adolescents in the intervention group used less marijuana after the treatment. The art of the adolescents and the discussions following the art process revealed less denial and more awareness of their marijuana abuse towards the end of treatment. The art of three adolescents is shown to demonstrate this analysis. Limitations of the research project and suggestions for future research are discussed.