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Patrick Morrissey

Sequential Art and Art Therapy

       The academic and psychological community has increased its interest in the scholarly research and appreciation of sequential art.  In this body of work, very little emphasis has been placed on exploring sequential art as a means of therapeutic intervention.  This thesis includes a brief history of sequential art from its earliest appearance in ancient Egypt to contemporary applications such as comic books and graphic novels.  Special attention has been placed on citing themes such as archetypes, mythology, and personal narratives.  This thesis has examined the potential therapeutic impact of structural elements contained within the format of sequential art by citing existing work by comic book artists and authors as well as parallel research in the art therapy and helping professions.  These elements include the fragmentation of time, the role of semiotics, and the impact of projection. 

         The author has chronicled his use of sequential art as an intervention over one academic year in the form of individual art therapy sessions with an adolescent male diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.  The experience of working with this student has helped to substantiate the hypothesis that employing sequential art as an intervention may be an effective art therapy intervention for use with individuals living with pervasive developmental disabilities or mental illness.


          Patrick Morrissey received his BA in psychology from the University of Dayton in 2001.  He gained clinical experience from Behavioral Health Services at MacNeal Hospital and worked with adolescents as both an art educator and art therapist at Arlyn School.  Patrick also volunteered his services to the HIV/AIDS organization, BEHIV.


Thesis Advisor: Randy M. Vick, Associate Professor, Chair, Art Therapy

Thesis Reader: Jade Dodge, Writer / Publisher, Cellar Door Publishing




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