Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Theodore Bartholomew

Reader 2

Melissa Mesinas


This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of group therapy for girls whose mothers are incarcerated. Due to the significant volume of United States families that are affected by mass incarceration, this study is created in the hopes of ending the systemic cycle of the children of incarcerated individuals ending up incarcerated. The current literature on therapeutic processes for children of incarcerated individuals focuses on paternal incarceration. However, due to the large number of daughters who have mothers in the criminal justice system, this study focuses on a possible blend of therapeutic practices that can be carried out in a group setting. Group therapy is more cost effective and can give a community sense in contrast to individual therapy. This between subjects study uses a mixed method ANOVA to evaluate the effects of increased hope, empathy, and relationship skills. Participants are girls ages 8-11 whose mothers are incarcerated. Participants cannot be currently under therapeutic treatment. Participants will be randomly assigned into groups of ten and with the same therapist will undergo a treatment plan that is rooted in CASEL’s measures for Social Emotional Learning, and consists of Grief Therapy, Forgiveness Therapy, and Trauma Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This study anticipates participants to show significantly higher levels of empathy, hope, and improvement in relationship skills according to CASEL’s criteria in Social and Emotional Learning. This study is rooted in evidence based therapies and controls for the possible downsides to group therapy. This study could add to the psychological field by adding a support system for girls as they go through a uniquely traumatic experience that could impact them for the rest of their lives. This study aims to show girls that there is hope for a future that can be different to the one that society has shown them.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.