Thesis Title

The Impact of Borderline Clients Studied in Post-Session Artwork of Nine Therapists

Graduation Date

Spring 1993

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 research project studies therapists' artwork to ascertain whether clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) have a different impact on their therapists than clients without BPD. This study emerges as a result of the many challenges encountered by clinicians in helping those with Borderline Personality Disorder. Will the artwork of therapists following sessions with BPD clients differ from artwork completed following sessions with non-BPD clients in terms of color, bridge structure (line quality), environment of picture, and self-representation? Nine therapists and two judges participated in this study. The judges were blind to the nature of the study to prevent personal bias from influencing their results. The results of the study indicate that a post-session drawing does reflect feelings of the therapist, and that color, line quality, and environment of picture are reliable indicators for measuring intense counter-transferential reactions following sessions with borderline personality disordered clients.