Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dawn Burau


Numerous studies have demonstrated that most adoptees do not have enough information to make sense of their biological and cultural background due to the lack of acknowledgment and understanding of their experiences and perspectives (Darnell, Johansen, Tavakoli, & Brugnone, 2017). By reviewing past and current literature, the present paper sought to investigate and bring awareness to the lasting social, emotional, developmental, and psychological effects the adoption process can have on adoptees from birth into adulthood, in addition to the different ways art therapy can aid in facilitating identity exploration and development throughout. Results showed acknowledgment, openness, and integration of biological background and cultural heritage in adoptive families in earlier years of life led to a more cohesive sense of self for an adoptee later in adulthood. Furthermore, the incorporation of arts and creative expressions throughout the process served as a safe and useful mean to support adoptee’s exploration of self-identity. Possible research limitations, interferences, and future directions were also discussed.

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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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