Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
Vivien Marcow Speiser
This literature review was an initial inquiry looking at research in expressive arts therapy (EAT) to see how this field was understanding, conceptualizing, and using culture in their analysis and treatment of individual well-being. It delved into how the field constructed the relationship between individuals and their culture. The definition of culture, health, mental health, and the connection between them was examined. Research also included creative arts therapy (CAT) and its emerging interest in critical theory, why it was important, where it was being used, and how it contributed to an understanding of society as a source of individual pain, erasure, and marginalization. A central focus was how socio-cultural categories such as race, gender, class, and ability, and their accompanying socio-cultural identities, harmed individuals in a society that used these categories and identities for dominance, control, and oppression. This writer wanted to see how EAT and CAT identified, understood, evaluated, challenged, and perpetuated these socio-cultural issues of dominance, identity, and difference within their respective fields. Implications for both clients and therapists/theorists were included, especially for those therapists/theorists carrying majority intersecting identities of privilege (white and/or male and/or middle to upper class and/or able-bodied, etc.). Future research and the writer’s response followed in the discussion.
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Hunnewell, Isaac, "Culture, Identity, and Critical Theory in Expressive Arts Therapy: A Literature Review" (2019). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 185.
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