Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Vivien Marcow Speiser


This thesis narrates a journey towards radical self-acceptance, recovery and growing awareness of substance abuse and mental illness through art therapy and yoga. Individuals who battle with a substance abuse and/or a mental illness are often faced with the predicament of sustaining consistent treatment. It is the opinion of this writer that the way our current mental health system is organized, fails to support the longevity of recovery and wellness for individuals who are unable to afford their treatment. This unfortunate situation sometimes leads to self-medicating behaviors resulting in addiction. As an intern at a short-term psychiatric and substance abuse inpatient hospital, the limited support for individuals post-discharge, is the most commonly expressed concern. Fortunately, treatment planning at the hospital includes modalities for developing coping skills for post discharge such as expressive arts therapy, mindfulness practices and support groups. These coping skills are vital to reducing relapse rates with substance abuse, addressing trauma history and enhancing self-awareness around mental health. This is not to say that art therapy or yoga may treat these conditions fully. However, this thesis will present science-based evidence regarding the benefits of art therapy and yoga in treating various mental illnesses and substance abuse. Through leading art therapy and yoga groups at an inpatient hospital setting, processes have indicated improved mood and self-esteem, increased insight and strengthened emotional regulation.

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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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