Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Kelvin Ramirez


This capstone thesis explored the links between the research on self-compassion and a mindful art therapy approach in treatment for mental health. Through a critical review of the literature on mindfulness, art therapy, and self-compassion the author extracted the overlapping themes that support well-being theory. It was identified that mindful art therapy approaches that focus on the development of emotional regulation, identity development, resiliency, and wellbeing overlap with those same themes in the self-compassionate approach to treatment for mental health. Many of the approaches were found to not only reduce pathology but also increase wellbeing simultaneously through a positive psychology perspective. The author explored how the integration of these themes in therapy may be enhanced by the combination of art therapy and self-compassion in an 8-week closed group with adults with persistent and severe mental illness, in an outpatient day treatment community center. The author of this capstone thesis learned that clients were very motivated to learn about self-compassion and that art making provided a unique experience that allowed them to understand the concepts in an individual way. The application of this method would likely also benefit individuals in treatment, and be applicable to adults with a wide range of mental health issues. This also applies to adults who are generally in good mental health. During the group, the experience of integrating self-compassion was enhanced by the art making. Art was created that supported the concepts in an individualized way and provided concrete imagery. Later, this imagery was placed in the individuals living space to be instantaneously recognized by the brain as a reminder of self-compassion.

Creative Commons License

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




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