Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Emily Marsick, PhD


Since 2013, the majority of students served by the public school system in the United States have been considered “low-income” by the federal government. The stressors associated with low socioeconomic status significantly increase risk for social, emotional and behavioral challenges at all age levels, but can be particularly damaging to adolescents coping with heightened stress levels related to the intense multi-dimensional changes that define this developmental period. As the correlation between economic disadvantage and negative socio-emotional and academic outcomes is increasingly evidenced, schools have begun to recognize their responsibility for providing preventative mental health care to high-risk students. Over the last decade therapeutic expressive arts programs have been implemented internationally within secondary schools to promote resilience in underprivileged adolescents. Arts-based modalities offer an opportunity to develop positive peer relationships, self-efficacy, creative problem solving skills, and coherent narratives of self in a format that increases accessibility and reduces stigma associated with mental health treatment. Although multiple examples of school-based resiliency groups utilizing single-modality arts therapies can be found in the literature, intermodal expressive arts therapy, the most recently established of the therapeutic arts disciplines, has yet to be examined in this context. Through analysis of established resiliency-based programs for high-risk adolescents within the modalities of visual art, drama, writing, music and dance/movement therapies, recommendations for the design and implementation of programming based specifically on the practices of intermodal expressive arts therapy are developed to guide necessary future research.

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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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