Thesis Title

The Utilization of Art Therapy in Helping Children Deal with Loss

Graduation Date

Spring 1985

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 paper presents a look at the effect of loss on children. It attempts to show how art therapy can help children deal with feelings of loss and how it can help them express these feelings in a healthy way. Death and especially the divorce of parents is a common denominator among most of the children being seen by the art therapy intern. Loss of parents or a comfortable home situation is becoming a reality in the lives of large groups of children. A child's need of support, care, and especially under­standing at these times has led to the development of the art processes pre­sented here. These art activities provide a supportive person in the chil­dren's lives and also a chance to deal creatively with many of the feelings they are experiencing. This paper was written in an effort to show that art therapy does make a difference in how children perceive and cope with them­selves and their world. Attention has been given to the use of the Kinetic Family Drawings and the House, Tree, Person tests of each of the eleven children studied. These and some of the common symbols used by these chil­dren have been used to show that art therapy increases children's feelings of worth and gives them the ability to function better in their families. This study presents material that shows art therapy is certainly one way of helping children live in today's society.