Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. E. Kellogg


Low-income children are often subjected to stressors and traumas such as hunger, abuse, neglect, and mental illness among caretakers. These stressors are a known source of debilitating stress and long-term dysfunction. Stress has been shown to adversely affect the body’s immune system, incapacitates one’s focus, and cause neurobiological transformation in the human brain. This reaction is particularly pronounced in children during a vulnerable time in their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. These changes have been known to manifest as cognitive deficits, emotional disorders, and learning disabilities, along poor physical health outcomes. Managing stress in low-income children is a critical public health issue, as its detrimental impact on children, their families, and our communities can be profound and ever-reaching. To address the complex needs of this population, a multifaceted treatment approach may be beneficial. The literature review revealed numerous benefits for children’s self-esteem and potential post traumatic growth when expressive arts therapy approaches, such as art and play therapy, are incorporated with established trauma treatments. Research has shown the effectiveness of each approach as they utilize children’s strengths and natural inclinations of creativity and play to explore their feelings and emotions at a safe distance. This thesis provides a literature review and discussion of the benefits of expressive therapies for children with these challenges.

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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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