Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Sarah Hamil, Ph.D., LCSW, RPT-S, ATR-BC


The purpose of this Capstone Thesis was to analyze whether or not hope can be shared or encouraged within the context of a teenage art therapy group. Research demonstrates that hope encourages optimism, promotes happiness, and increases our psychosocial well-being (Catalino, Algoe, & Fredrickson, 2014; Le, Cropley, & Greaves, 2015; Yeung, Ho, & Mak, 2015), that an individual may be encouraged toward hope via therapy and the therapist/client relationship (Carmelo Vazquez, 2017; Yeasting & Jung, 2010), and that art therapy, which is creativity integrated with counseling encourages a deeper access of a client’s state of being verses simple talk-therapy (Bishop & Willis, 2014; Fairchild & McFerran, 2019). Participants were six members of a previously established teenage art therapy group, ages 12-14 years old. Group members created art based on directives focusing on hope; personal strengths, gratitude, and “What lifts you up?”. Each participant created a total of three pieces of art. The directives were open-ended and each creation was client-led. Observations and notations were made during the group sessions as well as response art to illuminate shifts in perspectives of hope. The clinician observed that focusing on topics such as hope, personal strengths, and gratitude energized the group and encouraged a light heartedness amongst group members. These topics accompanied by new media encouraged play, togetherness, banter, laughter, movements-of-creation, and a focus inward while engaging outwardly. To further amplify the Capstone Thesis Project, Arts-Based Research strategies were utilized in the clinician’s art responses, which were created to facilitate a richer experience, to encourage a deeper connection with the group members individually and as a whole unit, and to increase empathy (Marano-Geiser et al., 1990).

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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