Thesis Title

The Use of a Body Sculpture Experience as a Means of Addressing Body-Image with Five Women

Graduation Date

Spring 1995

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 study into women’s body-image issues was designed to evoke and report experiential thoughts after a sculptural intervention. The Kidd method of qualitative research was adapted to fit the project. Subjects were interviewed and screened for safety issues (e.g. breathing problems, claustrophobia) and for demographic information.

The researcher and an assistant draped the subjects with cheese cloth that had been dipped in a Plaster of Paris and glue solution. The subject decided upon the pose she wanted to see herself cast in. The result of this process was a replica of the subjects body in the form of a light weight cast from the shoulder to below the knee.

Questionnaires were given to each subject containing open-ended questions regarding the experience of being in the cast, thoughts and feelings upon viewing the cast, and how the body cast experience may have changed their body-image.

The results of the process were positive for all five women. A new point of view of their bodies, as a whole, proved illuminating, a sense of physical boundaries was enhanced. The tactile experience of being in the cast was soothing and nurturing to some of the women. The women were all satisfied with their casts and found the experience healing, in various ways to their body-image issues.