Thesis Title

For Kids: Grant Proposal for Pyramisd Alternatives' Children's Therapy and Education Group

Graduation Date

Spring 1991

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


Pyramid Alternatives a counseling and education program in Pacifica, California, requests $6,000.00 from the Atkins Foundation for an eleven month grant to finance a program which will provide play, art and group therapy/education for latency age children impacted by their family's substance abuse problems.

Pyramid Alternatives is a non-profit, community based organization providing counseling services in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1973. Pyramid specializes in substance abuse counseling for individuals and their families, in the form of individual, family, and group therapy. The Agency sees over six hundred individuals per week, 50,000 to 60,000 students and children per year and provides family services as an adjunct to all children's programs. (See Appendix A).

The family environment in a chemically dependent home is most often inconsistent, chaotic and painful with denial as a primary coping mechanism for faSmily members (Wegscheider-Cruse, 1981; Black, 1981). Children raised in chemically dependent families learn the "don't talk, don't trust, don't feel, rules of coping in order to adapt to their environment (Black, 1981). These children are not at the same benchmark in terms of social, emotional and even academic achievement as their cohorts, who have not experienced such a traumatic family life style.

Goals for these children include helping them examine, understand and communicate problems through play and art, increase self esteem, reduce anxiety and change rigid family patterns.

Art therapy, an integral part of the proposed program, is based on the recognition that unconscious thoughts and feelings are often more easily expressed in images than words and on the understanding that every individual has a latent ability to project inner conflicts into visual forms (Naumberg, 1966).

Kramer conceives of art therapy primarily as a means of supporting the child, fostering the development of identity and promoting motivation in general (Kramer, 1971). The program seeks to reach approximately fifty children through play, art and group therapy/education, and serve as a means of educating all family members about self esteem, communication and parenting techniques with the hope that that family would be strengthened and encouraged to seek further assistance.