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

Dr. Sheehan Fisher


The purpose of this study was to qualitatively examine perspectives of mothers of color living in the US and their experiences in the healthcare system through art therapy. The study aimed to further identify personal narrative experiences of mothers of color navigating the healthcare system, promote individual voices, and acknowledge disparities impacting those within marginalized communities. The participants in this study included a total of eight identified mothers of color (non-White) living in the US. Participants took part in four weeks of consecutive art therapy sessions either in 60-minute group or individual virtual meetings. One art therapy directive was provided in each of the four weeks.

The eight themes and four subthemes included Privilege and Disparity, Capitalism, Being Overlooked, Pressures Related to Reproductive Health (Subtheme A.), Fear and Protection, Mistrust (Subtheme B.) Advocacy (Subtheme C.), Resiliency, Generational Trauma (Subtheme D.), Loving Through the Unspoken, Holistic and Humanistic Care, and Art Therapy Responses. The discussions were related to experiences with medical personnel, birthing stories, mothering identity, generational trauma, strengths, and interests in holistic healthcare interventions for mothers of color. All mothers spoke openly and engaged in the art therapy directives to better describe the perspectives of being a parent of color. The data included rich descriptions of nuanced parenting outlooks being women of color navigating the US healthcare systems.



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