Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


The current social work literature implores clinicians to create self-care practices to help reduce their levels of occupational stress. Literature from a variety of fields points to the healing capabilities of the art making process, yet there is a dearth of empirical evidence linking the two. This study examines whether self-directed art making can reduce stress for the clinical social worker. Ten clinical social workers who make art either as a hobby or as a dual career were interviewed to determine how their art making practice impacts their clinical work and whether or not art making reduces their occupational stress level. Research findings revealed that a minority of respondents pointed to a direct correlation between their art making and their occupational stress level but the majority pointed to an indirect relationship between the two. They reported that art making improves their feelings of general wellbeing and helps to balance out their clinical work, which indirectly improves their occupational stress levels.


ii, 63 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 55-57).