Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Deforia Lane

Second Advisor

Nancy Sondag

Third Advisor

Angelique Simpson-Marcus


African American women have suffered from negative images being thrust upon them, unrealistic expectations desired from them, and a lack of acknowledgement of their humanity—femininity often ignored or manipulated for sexual or reproductive control over them. The scars from these societal ills have fueled mindsets which assist in the fostering of continued unrealistic goals (Western ideals of beauty, infinite emotional resources), allowing circumstances for illness and disease to persist. The study attempts to explore, through mask making and dramatic play, how African American women see themselves and how this view may be useful in creating interventions to treat this population. Issues including the negative effects of stereotypes, the hurtfulness of colorism, mistrust of scientific research and helping professions (medical and psychological) as well as the desire to commune with other Black women were expressed and explored. The word “Black” as used by the writer is interchangeable with the term “African American” and will be capitalized. The same is true in regards to “White” when used to describe individuals of European descent. Both terms appear in lower case when part of a direct quotation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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