Does art therapy help grieving college students?

Raised of $1,600 Goal
Ended on 8/30/14
Campaign Ended
  • $150
  • 10%
  • Finished
    on 8/30/14

About This Project

Many people every day experience the pain of losing a loved one. Our goal is to study how effective art therapy is for helping bereaved college students cope with loss in a creative and constructive way. By assessing art therapy in college students, we hope to learn the best way to make art therapy more useful and practical so we can transport it more effectively into the community.

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What is the context of this research?

Art therapy has been used to treat various physical, mental, and emotional problems (e.g. trauma). A number of art therapy protocols have been published that detail the method in which it should be delivered, but few are backed with quantitative data.

Unfortunately, art therapy research has been predominantly qualitative with few empirically-validated studies to date. Due to its relative lack of stringent experimental methods, art therapy is currently not considered an evidence-based therapy. Additionally, little is known about how art therapy affects bereaved individuals.

What is the significance of this project?

We will address this quantitative gap by using gold standard methodology set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA). We hope to evaluate the effectiveness of art therapy within a bereaved college student population by utilizing the APA's gold standard experimental methods and enlisting the help of art therapy experts to create an effective therapy that can be practically and easily transported into the general bereaved community.

What are the goals of the project?

  1. Create an art therapy manual that will serve as a guide for future generations of art therapists.
  2. Test the effectiveness of this manual with college-aged students
  3. Use gold-standard methods to explore the effectiveness of art therapy
  4. Write and disseminate publications and posters about the art therapy manual
  5. Most of all, we wish to create and disseminate a therapy that will benefit bereaved persons now and into the future


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All of the funds will be used to cover the costs of implementing, presenting and publishing the outcomes of this project.

I will publish these results in an Open Access journal so our findings are not limited to subscribers of academic journals. I will also submit the results or ongoing efforts for presentation at the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference.

Meet the Team

Ruben Martinez
Ruben Martinez

Team Bio

I earned my bachelors in Psychology at The Ohio State University in 2013 and am now pursuing a Ph.D. at Virginia Commonwealth University. I have previously worked within a Palliative Care team researching difficult decision-making processes at the end of life, as well as assessing grief reactions of family members whose loved one died in the hospital. My current research focuses on college student bereavement and how universities, staff, and peers can help grieving students.

I have a passion for art therapy because it was a key piece of treatment for me and my younger siblings when my mom died nine years ago. I have since worked to learn more about implementing art therapy by leading groups, attending conferences, and am helping facilitate an Art of Grief group in Richmond, Virginia. My overall goal is to help establish art therapy as a reputable, effective and evidence-based therapy for those bereaved.

Lab Notes

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Project Backers

  • 3Backers
  • 10%Funded
  • $150Total Donations
  • $50.00Average Donation
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