Hanna Yaxa Kwiatkowska, 73, an associate professor at George Washington University and a former head of the art therapy unit at the National Institute of Mental Health, died of cancer April 1 at her home in Chevy Chase.

Mrs. Kwiatkowska was an artist and sculptor by training. She also studied psychiatry and psychology and combined her various disciplines in the development of art therapy. This is a technique in which patients communicate their inner feelings through pictures they draw. The insights that a therapist gains from these pictures are then used in the treatment of the patient.

At the National Institute of Mental Health, where she worked from 1958 until her retirement in 1971, Mrs. Kwiatkowska introduced art therapy. She also helped develop family art therapy.

From 1971 until her death, she was an associate professor at GW and taught art therapy in its graduate school of arts and sciences. She also maintained a private practice in art therapy in New York City and Washington.

In 1978, she published a book, "Family Therapy and Evaluation Through Art."

Mrs. Kwiatkowska was born in Poland. She earned a bachelor's degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and also studied art in Switzerland and Austria. She married Alexander J. Kwiatkowski, then a Polish diplomat, and the couple were stationed in Harbin, Manchuria, for six years. They returned to Warsaw on the eve of World War II.

After the war began, they fled to Paris. As France fell, Mrs. Kwiatkowska made her way to Portugal and then to Brazil, where she spent the rest of the war. Her husband served in the Polish Army in Britain and elsewhere. In 1947, both moved to New York City, and in 1954 they moved to the Washington area.

While in New York, Mrs. Kwiatkowska studied psychiatry and psychology at the William Alanson White School. In Washington, she studied at the Washington School of Psychiatry.

In 1964, 1966 and 1969, she received Fullbright Fellowships to teach art therapy in Brazil. She published numerous papers in professional journals. From 1969 to 1973, she was chairman of the research committee of the American Art Therapy Association, of which she was an honorary life member. a

She also was a member of the American Socity of Psychopathology of Expression and a member of the Washington School of Psychiatry and the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America.

Survivors include her husband, of Chevy Chase.