Thesis Title

Grant Proposal for a Pilot Art Therapy Program for Children of Battered Women Temporarily Housed in the San Mateo Battered Women's Shelter

Graduation Date

Fall 1990

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


Family violence is a life threatening and pervasive social problem in this country. It is common for children from violent homes to reenact this violence as adults. Increased recognition of the impact of family violence on children has created the need for social, emotional, and psychological interventions. Shelters for battered women and their children have provided needed support. A desperate need also exists for crisis and ongoing therapeutic intervention with children who are witnesses to domestic violence.

In 1989, a six month exploratory Art Therapy program was conducted with the children of battered women temporarily housed in the San Mateo Battered Women's Shelter, demonstrating possible therapeutic benefits of an ongoing Children's Art Therapy Program. The shelter's capacity to house approximately ten women and a maximum of about twenty five children at any one time, made it possible to serve over fifty children through this program. Within six weeks of entering the shelter, positive changes were observed in the content of the children's artwork, and negative behaviors had declined.

This grant proposal is being submitted for funding an extended 48-week Art Therapy Program for a total cost of $21,630.82 to continue this program, and to further substantiate the effectiveness of Art Therapy as a therapeutic intervention of choice with this population. Art Therapy has proven to be effective as a non-threatening way to relieve anxiety, build self-esteem, and communicate.