Thesis Title

Art Therapy and People with HIV/AIDS a Grant Proposal: Group Art Therapy Program for the San Mateo County AIDS Program

Graduation Date

Summer 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


Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a diagnosis that indicates the development of a currently terminal illness - acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). People living with HIV/AIDS experience a vast scope of irrevocable losses. The bereavement process for HIV/AIDS-related losses is complicated by a number of issues which result in the loss of resources and connections needed to facilitate the grief process. Without sufficient support, these irrevocable losses may result in chronic grief, complicated bereavement, developmental dysynchronicity, suicidal ideation, and traumatic stress. Because the HIV/AIDS epidemic has reached proportions too severe for the health care system to address, it has been left up to the community to create and provide a complex of services to support people living with HIV/AIDS. As an important part of the services provided in such an agency, a forty-three week art therapy program is proposed for a total cost of $7, 615.15. This program is proposed to start in November, 1995. The participants will be comprised of clients at the San Mateo County AIDS Program in San Mateo, California. The San Mateo County AIDS Program is a community based, non-profit, multiservice AIDS agency which provides prevention outreach, education, counseling, and health and social services. The art therapy program will provide a group forum in which members will be given an outlet for the expression of their thoughts and feelings associated with HIV/AIDS. The process of creating art, recognizing and expressing feelings, experiencing and giving support in a safe environment, will assist members in managing the impact of loss, while facilitating movement through the grief process.