Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Dr. Michele Forinash

Second Advisor

Dr. Kelvin Ramirez

Third Advisor

Rev. Ray Hammond, MD



This qualitative research study examined the experiences of two Black female teachers and six White female teachers who participated in five Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) workshops that incorporated Open Studio Process (OSP) using Expressive Therapy Continuum (ETC). It is informed by research on defensiveness and resistance that often accompanies and presents barriers to effective DEI training.

All eight study participants were elementary school teachers, ages 22-56. Participants engaged in five workshops that used artistic mediums to explore DEI topics. Participants visually and metaphorically represented their experiences. Results were analyzed using qualitative techniques.

Findings are that OSP using ETC provided study participants with a safe and supportive environment to explore DEI topics. The no-judgment guideline encouraged participants to freely express themselves, facilitating self-reflection and personal growth.

Participants reported feeling empowered to challenge biases and beliefs, expanding their critical consciousness and DEI awareness. Expressive therapies tapped creativity and emotions, expanding consciousness and empathy with marginalized groups. Participants expanded their awareness of structural inequalities in educational systems. The study also highlighted the need for support and follow-up to sustain learning.


Please contact Tiffany L. Thompson with any questions

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.



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