Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Counseling & Psychology


Emily Marsick


Trauma does not discriminate between age, culture, or socioeconomic class; trauma can happen to anyone. Although we would like to think that children are exempt from these difficult experiences, unfortunately, that is not the case. The current extensive research about the effects that trauma has on children both emotionally and psychologically and how these effects can have long term consequences will be examined in this capstone thesis. The arts-based qualitative research within this thesis will explore the benefits of puppet creation as a way for children to externalize their traumatic stories and as a means to provide children with the developmentally appropriate space to heal. Although the use of puppets with children in a therapeutic setting is well known as a beneficial tool for children to externalize their experiences, there has been minimal research about how the actual creation of puppets aids in children's healing. Through the use of individual case studies, it was found in this capstone thesis that the creation of puppets in child trauma therapy resulted in the externalization of stories, emotional education, the ability to stay focused in class, improving social understanding and engagement, and the ability to explore children’s trauma at their own pace.

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