Ayako Sato, PsyD, is a 2011 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

  • Liang Tien, Psy.D. (Committee Chair)
  • Minoru Oishi, M.D. (Committee Member)
  • Jane Harmon Jacobs, Ph.D. (Committee Member)


Morita Therapy, Art therapy, Zen Buddhism, Art therapy theory, Buddhist perspective of therapy

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This study presents therapeutic interventions combining Morita Therapy with art therapy techniques. The author presents literature reviews of art therapy as well as the original Morita Therapy formulated by Shoma Morita, M.D. A new art therapy technique based on the work of Kenji Kitanishi, M.D. (2008) for outpatient treatment is also presented. A case illustration of an eleven‐year‐old Vietnamese‐American boy who presented with high anxiety and school refusal is used as an example of the effective integration of Morita Therapy with art therapy techniques formulated by the author. Even though the boy was not familiar with Morita Therapy principles, the creative process helped the client make therapeutic progress. The combined treatment of Morita Therapy principles and art therapy techniques resulted in an effective outcome for the client. As a central concept, Morita Therapy focuses on learning to accept one’s emotions and the reality of one’s life. This analysis concludes that art therapy techniques can be effectively integrated with Morita Therapy as a treatment method aimed at improvement in functioning. The number of clients that can potentially benefit from Morita Therapy increases with the use of art therapy. Given that Morita Therapy is based on Buddhist philosophy, it may be particularly useful Buddhist based cultures.