Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Sarah Hamil, PhD.


Mindfulness and expressive arts therapy are both supportive of directing attention in a manner that promotes integration and function of a person. In this paper, a trauma-sensitive method was created for use in a day treatment setting for adults with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI). This method utilized expressive movement, visual art making with three different materials, and creative writing to encourage mindful, non-judgmental acceptance of the present moment; a sense of relaxation; and an overall increase in quality of life. During development of the method arts-based research informed the choice of materials, music, and structure of the group. Approximately 10 individuals with SPMI participated in this group intervention over the span of 13 weeks. Results showed that group members found value in participating in this method. Individual reports included finding enjoyment in the experience of art making, feeling relaxed during and after engaging in the group, gaining increased self-acceptance, a sense of satisfaction from making art without worrying about the end-product, a feeling of increased connection with others, being able to have mindful focus on the present, finding hope, and an overall sense of gratitude.

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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