Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
Emotion regulation is the ability of a person to identify and control their emotions during life experiences. This form of regulation can be a struggle for some people, especially during their adolescent years. If a teenager is then in crisis, experienced trauma(s), and/or made a suicide attempt, it is even harder to work through and be able to identify their emotions. Existing research shows the difficulty some adolescents have with identifying emotions, especially after going through crisis and being placed on a locked psychiatric unit (Ciarrochi, Heaven, & Supavadeeprasit, 2008; Perez, Venta, & Garnaat, 2012; Hatkevich, Penner, & Sharp, 2019). Working on such a unit, there was an additional challenge operating around the limitations the unit had in place with specific materials to keep clients safe. Utilizing the intervention Emotional Layering, using only different colored tissue paper and glue, allowed clients to safely explore identifying emotions. By matching a color to a specific emotion, the same colored tissue paper then layered with any number of other emotions/colors a client was experiencing, they created a tangible image that represented their feelings. By using “I am the one who…” language in the group, clients were able to find commonalities between art pieces within the community, allowing for exposure to the emotion, which exposed them to the vulnerability of expressing emotions, and a better understanding of naming emotions, nonverbally. Deepening a client’s connection to emotions and learning how to regulate them are key steps to a healthier life.
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Carey, Victoria L., "Emotional Layering: An Art Therapy Intervention with Children and Adolescents in an Inpatient Setting" (2020). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 317.
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