Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Expressive Therapies


Kelvin Ramirez, PhD, ATR-BC, LCAT


In recent years, technology in the form of digital applications (apps) has emerged as a fundamental aspect of everyday life as well as a practical, convenient, and inexpensive tool for artistic self-expression, most notably amongst children and adolescents. Ninety-eight percent of U.S. households currently possess some form of mobile device (Rideout, 2017), with an estimated 95% of U.S. teenagers ages 13 to 17 owning a Smartphone (Anderson & Jiang, 2018). As digital natives, children and adolescents are more likely to identify with and connect to these arts-based methods. Clinician perspective concerning digital integration varies across a wide spectrum. Through a critical review of the existing literature, this research investigated the current state of digital app technology within the field of Expressive Arts Therapies, as well as potential benefits and drawbacks to the integration of this artistic media. Expressive Arts Therapy is predicated on the multimodal nature of artistic forms. Modality-specific apps within art, music, and dance therapy disciplines have garnered encouraging findings; however, no authentic multimodal digital app currently exists. This research explored the intermodal possibilities of both singular modality apps as well as those quantitatively examined in other mental-health related fields. Additionally, recommendations and considerations are made surrounding future research and app development within an Expressive Arts Therapies framework.

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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