Ann Kirby

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) / School of Visual Arts


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Supervisor

Dr Michael Campanelli


The notion of the collusive mother is pervasive in the psychological literature on incest. This notion has been further examined in this thesis which entails a critical study of the literature supporting the idea of the colluding mother in incestuous families. In addition, a field study was undertaken to examine adult female incest survivors' perceptions of their relationship with their mothers. These perceptions were studied to see if they suggested confirmation or negation of the notion of the colluding mother as suggested in the existing literature. All of the information generated was viewed from a feminist perspective. Participants in the field study part of tho research attended one group art therapy session. They completed drawings and a questionnaire and were invited to share what they wished with the facilitator and other group members. In addition, each participant attended an individual art therapy session with the researcher. Participants’ comments about their drawings were noted. The therapists of participants chosen for this study were interviewed regarding the general concept of the mother's role in the incestuous family. It was anticipated that a therapist's general beliefs would influence their counselling practice.