Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Donna C. Owens


Choice in art materials and the artistic process are arguably two of the primary facets of how art making can be therapeutic. The purpose of the present inquiry was to investigate the impacts of art material choice in children who have experienced trauma. Using the expressive therapies continuum (ETC) as a foundation for choosing art materials in a therapeutic context, this inquiry sought to introduce art materials in the kinesthetic/sensory component of the ETC (e.g., clay, paint, large paint brushes, etc.). As a mediating consideration, this inquiry articulated the responsibilities and obligations that the art therapist possesses in working with art therapy clients—specifically, in working with children with trauma. An individual therapeutic intervention was implemented to observe these variables in action at a therapeutic day school located in the metro-Boston area of Massachusetts. The intervention was implemented by recruiting an eight-year-old boy who has a history of traumatic experiences and a trauma-related psychological diagnosis. The results for this intervention indicated that the choice of kinesthetic/sensory art materials in working with children with trauma had a positive influence on the therapeutic nature of the art therapy session. In essence, the present inquiry noted an example of how kinesthetic/sensory art materials have the potential to yield healing therapeutic experiences.

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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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