Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts

First Advisor

Andrew Guilfoyle

Second Advisor

Michael Campanelli


This thesis is a case study that explores art therapy programs that are being or have been established in mainstream primary education settings in the United Kingdom, United States of America and Australia. The study includes a review of literature which relates an application of art therapy principles and practice to an education framework and the developmental and emotional needs of primary age children. The art therapy programs are examined in terms of the target population (eg. abused, rejected, disaffected, vulnerable children); the value of these programs to children in the primary school system (ie. in helping to remove students' emotional blocks to learning); the logistics of their implementation in primary schools; and their source of funding. The level of interest, support and commitment from allied health and community workers as well as teachers and administrators working within a. school structure is also examined. The data analysis and conclusions reflect on the common and recurring themes which arise from the study of programs in the UK and USA. These are compared to the Australian experience. The implications of the study for the Education Department of Western Australian system is discussed.