Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Krystal Demaine


Children begin developing types of coping skills as early as age two. Children and adolescents use both positive and negative coping skills each day in order to navigate life’s experiences. Negative coping skills that develop at a young age can affect the child or adolescent later in adulthood. The development of positive coping mechanisms will allow children to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. When it comes to children with mood disorders, natural skills for coping and resiliency may not come as easy. Children and adolescents experiencing acute mental health treatment in an inpatient facility often come in already in crisis due to maladaptive coping skills. Children and adolescents in acute crisis typically have a difficult time coping with a stressful or traumatic life event. Art therapy has been shown to offer support in the development of coping skills and resiliency for children with mood disorders. This thesis uses an art therapy method designed to help children and adolescents struggling with mood disorders and few coping skills through the creation and design of a superhero. The protocol for the method is based on a strengths-based approach using positive psychology allowing the children to create their own superheroes and superpowers. Forty-one children and adolescents, participated in one group session, that allowed for the creative and artistic development and design of a personal superhero. The results demonstrated a greater understanding of self and the use of personal strengths as coping skills among the participants. Future implementations of the method and further research are discussed.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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