Thesis Title

Art Therapy Program for At-Risk Children of Battered Women

Graduation Date

Summer 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

Rachel Cherry, MFT, ATR, CT


This grant proposal outlines an art therapy program for at-risk children in residence at the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention’s battered women’s shelter in San Mateo County, California. Funding in the amount of $34,460.00 is requested in order to provide a 52 week pilot art therapy program to help children cope with the effects of domestic violence in their lives.

The Center for Domestic Violence Prevention (DVP) is a non-profit agency dedicated to providing services to enhance the well being of children, youth, and families with the goal of ending the intergenerational cycle of violence. Domestic violence continues to be an alarmingly prevalent problem in the United States and its long term negative effects on families and society is devastating. Abused children, without intervention, often suffer psychological impairment, educational failure, criminality, and are likely to repeat the patterns of abuse with their own children. (Briere, 1992; Eth and Pynoos, 1985; Perry, 1999).

The proposed art therapy program will provide psychotherapeutic intervention, assessment, and counseling to address the emotional and psychological concerns of children. Art therapy will be the primary treatment modality because of its non-threatening capacity to access emotions, and because it provides engaging activities which support the expression and processing of sensitive feelings (Malchiodi, 1997; Pifalo, 2002). The immediate objectives of the program are to help relieve children’s stress, create a safe place to promote expression of feelings, and elevate self-esteem in an effort to help deter future violence and improve chances of healthy adjustment.