Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Meg Chang


Within the United States, there are millions of people living in urban cities. Cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. This thesis capstone project is a literature review on the trauma that is experienced by the youth residing in those urban communities and the effects it has on their bodies and minds. This level of continuous trauma develops in children as complex trauma and disrupts a child’s mental, social, emotional and educational development. This change in trajectory puts these children on a path that can result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, substance abuse, involvement with the criminal justice system, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, poverty, or death. This thesis will also look at the literature on the trauma-informed approach, its guidelines, and how it can be beneficial to this population. In recent years, programs have implemented the trauma-informed approach to treat complex trauma and give traumatized children a chance at healing. In Massachusetts, for example, several such programs have combined the trauma-informed approach with theoretical approaches and have seen successful results. The use of art in art therapy sessions can be used successfully to create paths of communication, understanding, and healing for urban youth.

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