Thesis Title

Art Therapy Sessions with a Schizophrenic

Graduation Date

Summer 1984

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 thirty art therapy sessions with a schizophrenic woman. The sessions attempted to establish a means by which the patient could develop a therapeutic relationship and communicate with another individual.

The art therapy sessions were scheduled as weekly 45 minute sessions. A structured setting was created through the selection of materials, topics and timing. The individual was encouraged to communicate information about herself at her own speed. Because of the schizophrenic inability to handle interpersonal relationships, the art was the focus of attention rather than the individual herself, allowing for some distancing during the communication.

The purpose of the study was to demonstrate the process by which art therapy facilitates communication and establishes a trusting therapeutic relationship. These sessions were incorporated. Into this

individual's total treatment plan, as an adjunctive therapy, with the assumption that the art therapy would not "cure" her schizophrenia, but enable her to express herself and reduce the terrible isolation typical of schizophrenia.