Thesis Title

A Safe Space: An Art therpay Group for Women Survivors of Domestic Violence

Graduation Date

Spring 2002

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


Lizbeth Martin, PhD

First Reader

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Gwen Sanders, MFT, ART-BC


Angela Angelone and the Support Network for Battered Women (SNBW) jointly seek funding from the Community Foundation of Silicon Valley in the amount of $15,300.00 to cover administrative costs and art supplies. The funding will provide for the creation of an art therapy group program for battered women. The group will be held 3 times a year for a total of 36 weeks and will serve approximately 30 women.

SNBW is a 501 (c)(3) tax-deductible, nonprofit agency which provides services for women and child victims of domestic violence within Santa Clara County. The services provided fall under three distinct departments. The Client Services Department provides crisis intervention consisting of a toll-free 24 hour crisis line; a residential services program consisting of an eighteen-bed shelter; a clinical counseling program, providing psychotherapy addressing the long­term effects of domestic abuse; and a children’s program, providing group and individual counseling to children of shelter residents and other child victims within the community. The Legal Department assists clients with restraining orders, family law advice, victim advocacy, and legal information and advice provided by staff attorneys and a bilingual legal advocate. The Community Education Department provides domestic violence awareness and education throughout the community.

In 1999 and 2000, an art therapy group was conducted as part of the clinical counseling program. This group provided an alternative therapy for women survivors of domestic violence addressing self-esteem issues, PTSD symptoms, as well as other needs. Due to a lack of professional services and funds, the art therapy group was discontinued. This proposed grant would re-establish an art therapy group facilitated by a registered art therapist or art therapist intern. The art therapy group would establish an alternative therapeutic modality adding to the existing counseling services which include a psycho-educational group, a parenting group, and individual therapy. The art therapy group would provide a safe, supportive environment within which women could explore emotional issues and reconnect to other women. The proposed art therapy program would address issues of self-esteem, depression, and isolation; foster empowerment; educate; and attempt to alleviate anxiety and some PTSD symptomology. Progress will be tracked using several measurement tools including the Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (SES), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE), and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). In addition to these tested measurement tools, client art work and client self-reports will also be used to evaluate the program.