Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
Donna C. Owens
Miscarriage is the leading pregnancy complication in the United States, yet discussion of it remains a societal taboo that limits women’s ability to receive emotional and psychological support from medical professionals and their communities. This paper presents an innovative method for healing and processing this unique form of grief. Expressive arts therapy is expanding as an evidence-based approach for the treatment of trauma and mental health concerns. Although there is minimal peer-reviewed literature on the use of expressive arts therapy as a singular healing modality for miscarriage grief, studies have shown that visual art, writing, music, and movement have proven to be beneficial in addressing emotions connected to various pregnancy and fertility complications. This literature review addressed the need for expression, validation, and connection after early pregnancy loss through the integration of expressive arts therapy, ritual, and healing circles as an effective holistic approach toward processing grief and trauma after an early pregnancy loss. Through this research it was revealed that significant overlap exists between expressive arts therapy and traditional indigenous rituals that provide emotional and communal support. The work presented here has profound implications for future studies of treating perinatal grief and trauma and may one day help solve the gaps in healthcare by providing women a more holistic and multifaceted approach for support after miscarriage. Further research examining expressive arts therapy as a healing modality for early pregnancy loss is recommended.
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McKernan, Amanda, "Healing Miscarriage Trauma Through Expressive Arts Therapy, Ritual, and Healing Circles: A Critical Literature Review" (2020). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 303.
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