Thesis Title

Art Therapy with Depressed Patients in an Institutional Setting

Graduation Date

Fall 1987

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 examines the factors that create depression as well as the emotional fluctuations in mood among psychiatric ward patients ranging from 19 to 69 years of age. It focuses on schizophrenia, schizo-affective, and adjustment disorders. The research explores how Art Therapy as a treatment modality can reduce depression in locked ward patients by allowing them a second language for self-expression. The efficacy that Art Therapy provides patients a non-verbal medium to express and relieve feelings of depression by forming awareness, problem solving, and working through conflicts will be discussed. Seventy four art pieces made by nine institutionalized patients are discussed. The artwork is ordered according to the focus categories and the results represent the course as well as function of the therapy.