Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies


In the changing landscape of the United States, the skills and competencies of helping professionals must continue to address the unique needs of its various populations. As a growing field, the creative arts therapies must adopt multicultural values and standards necessary to remain competitive and relevant.

This study addressed the issue of multicultural counseling competency training in the creative arts therapies from three perspectives: the governing association, the training institution, and the student/trainee. Throughout this study the term creative arts therapies includes art, dance/movement, drama, expressive arts, music, poetry, and psychodrama.

Information concerning the associations for each of the seven creative arts therapies modalities, the National Coalition of the Creative Arts Therapies Associations, and 69 training institutions was pulled from their websites. Regulations for licensed mental health practitioners in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico were also researched. An on-line survey included demographic questions, questions about multicultural coursework and internship experiences of current students, questions about the professional experience of practitioners, and the Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills Survey, Counselor Edition, Revised (MAKSS-CE-R). The MAKSS-CE-R assesses three domains of multicultural counseling competency: awareness, knowledge, and skills.

Results indicated that 43% of creative arts therapies associations did not have specific requirements related to multicultural competencies, and six percent of states did not require licensure applicants to meet a multicultural competency standard. The 99 individuals completing the study ranged in age from 22 to 75 and were primarily white (83%) and female (94%). Seventeen were students in a MA level creative arts therapies program and 82 identified as practitioners. Overall practitioners scored lower than students on the individual subscales of the MAKSS-CE-R. Subscale scores tended to be in the low to medium (Awareness, 47.5%), and the medium to high (Knowledge, 60.6%; Skills, 67.7%) ranges, indicating respondents did not perceive themselves as highly competent.

Implications for multicultural counseling competency training in the creative arts therapies include the need for incorporation of the multicultural counseling competencies across the curriculum and within supervision. Further research examining content of multicultural counseling competency courses in the creative arts therapies is recommended.

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