Thesis Title

A 10 Week Creative Arts Expression Workshop in a School Based Environment and Its Effect on Self-Esteem in 6th, 7th, and 8th Graders

Graduation Date

Spring 2003

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

Carolee Stabno, PsyD, MFT


This research study reviews the basic understanding and current knowledge in the field of self esteem and is designed to determine if a 10 Week Creative Arts Expression Workshop implemented within the school setting will have measurable effects on the self esteem of the 6th, 7th and 8th graders who participate.

Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS) and Shannon Asbury are seeking $6,050.00 to fund this research project. ACS has been helping adolescents and families on the Peninsula since 1975. They have worked to promote healthy social and emotional development through their group home, On-Campus Counseling Program in secondary schools, and their Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Program. Their On-Campus Counseling Program helps students deal with issues that are common among adolescents including drug and alcohol abuse, self esteem, depression, poverty, violence, truancy and divorce. Although ACS has been working with adolescents in the community for almost 30 years, they understand that there remains a need to help adolescents deal with their emerging sense of self and strengthening their self esteem.

This study theorizes that through creative arts expression adolescents can learn to build on their existing skills, learn to understand and express negative emotions, deal with frustration, and learn perseverance. In addition, it is hoped that their sense of mastery will grow and they will have the opportunity to renew trust with caring adults, leading to a healthy and strong self-esteem.