Thesis Title

A Stepmother Archetype

Graduation Date

Fall 1994

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


The Archetype of the Stepmother is a thesis which examines the role of the stepmother from an historical perspective stepmother in fairy tales and myth, the stepmother in psychological literature, stepmothers as they see themselves and images of the stepmother in art. Stepmothers are considered as heroines in a changing society with new attitudes towards the Feminine.

The method of research for this thesis is both historical and heuristic. The thesis asks the question why is the stepmother so laden with negativity. How can this archetype be changed to reflect modern women in. the complex role of stepmother? Some of the answers to these questions are found in this work.