Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Vivien Marcow-Speiser


Art therapy is an effective service for students in public schools that struggle with academic, social, emotional, behavioral and other issues. Art therapy is widely used with school-aged children and adolescents; however, it is not commonly provided as a service in public schools. Research shows that when art therapy is provided in schools, students experience a wide-range of benefits including but not limited to communication development, decrease in disruptive behaviors, feelings of empowerment, belonging, safety and confidence, improved mood, an increase in coping strategies and stress reduction. Art therapists working in schools report difficulties resulting from a lack of understanding of art therapy, unrealistic expectations, dual roles and a lack of access to supplies, along with other issues. Despite difficulties establishing art therapy in public schools, art therapists report success, especially when other staff and families collaborate and communicate in order to best serve the students. An example of how art therapy can be implemented in public schools is explored in this paper. The author, an art therapy intern, implemented the shaving cream prints method in a public high school with two teenage female students. Results found this method to be beneficial in promoting relaxation and comfort that lead to verbal processing with the art therapy intern. Art therapy is a valid counseling service that, through future research and advocacy, will find its place in more public schools across the United States.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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