Graduation Date

Spring 2022

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Project Type

Qualitative Study

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy


Art Therapy

Program Director

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

First Reader

Erin Partridge, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Christine Hirabayashi, PhD, LMFT, ATR-BC


Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art form of repairing broken pieces with lacquer. It is highly regarded as an art form that represents the beauty of scars and life after destruction. Currently, the field of art therapy has little literature on how destruction of art can be used in the field to aid clients. This study was dedicated to researching a new art directive based on the kintsugi form of art making and its philosophies. To assess the therapeutic value of the destruction of art, the chosen population was millennials, an age group that is misunderstood. This study aims to show that this directive can help this age group process through their shame and guilt, and in turn build resiliency and self-forgiveness. Participants engaged in a three-part art making process and eleven short interview questions focused on their experience. They were asked to create artwork, destroy it, and then use the pieces to either repair it or create something new. Qualitative data was analyzed to assess the experience of the participants. Overall, the results showed that this directive was effective in evoking feelings of resiliency and self-forgiveness. It is hoped that this study can further the conversation on using kintsugi and other types of destructive art in the field of art therapy.

IRB Number


Included in

Art Therapy Commons