Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Tamar Hadar, PhD, MT-BC


Devastatingly, children’s exposure to trauma and stressful life events is pervasive and spans a range of human experiences. Advances in neuroscience demonstrate that such traumas experienced during childhood can deleteriously rewire a child’s nervous system, in-turn altering their brain’s organization, development, and function. Left unresolved, the impacts of trauma can compound across a child’s lifetime manifesting in a host of negative psychological and health outcomes. Timely and neurosequentially-based interventions are key to helping traumatized children heal and achieve their full potential. This review of art therapy literature identifies current neurobiological-informed art therapy models for children who have experienced trauma. A substantial gap was revealed to exist between the integration of neuroscience concepts into art therapy practice and the availability of quantitative studies to empirically demonstrate art therapy’s effect on a child’s brain structure and function. This thesis proposes an empirical, interdisciplinary approach to art therapy, that sensitively aligns with the child’s developmental stage as well as with their impaired nervous system.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License




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