Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Michele Forinash

Second Advisor

Peiwei Li

Third Advisor

Sangeeta Swamy


There is significant need for white human services providers to have awareness of their racial identities, privilege, racism, biases and understanding impacts to client care. Yet in the United States, people who are white often demonstrate little awareness of their racial identities due to living in a white supremacist society. When confronted with issues of race, it is common for people who are white to demonstrate difficulties with topics including denial, discomfort, and defensiveness. This research examines the experience of using the expressive arts therapies to explore personal racial identity, personal biases, and issues of racism in the workplace for white human services providers. The research includes five participants who elected to be in a four-week online group facilitated by an Art Therapist. Outcomes of the research discuss the phenomenon of the experiences of participants by including review of artwork produced and conversation had. Findings include discussion of white identity formation, white fragility, assuming ownership of white identity, reflecting on the use of the creative arts in contrast with academic trainings, and perceived comfort with topics as a result of using the creative arts.



Number of Pages





The author owns the copyright to this work.