Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Krystal Demaine


Building a sense of safety through containment is a key component of working with clients who have significant trauma histories. This capstone thesis explores the current literature on the symbolism of containment in the therapeutic relationship as well as the effectiveness of using containers such as boxes, books, mandalas, in art therapy, and imagined containers in EMDR in supporting clients to heal from trauma. Quantitative studies demonstrating the efficacy of creating mandalas to reduce Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms is significant. After reviewing the relevant literature, I present a preliminary treatment directive in which clients design and draw an image of a container in which they metaphorically place intense emotions evoked in the therapeuticsession. Limited results show that an end of session art directive focused on containment may help clients transition from an emotionally laden therapeutic session back into their everyday lives with greater ease. Further research into the use and impact of containment directives to treat trauma is recommended.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




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