Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Laura L. Wood, PhD, RDT/BCT


From an incredibly young age, children in the United States of America are faced with significant stressors due to challenging life circumstances, parental pressures and ever increasing demands for success in all aspects of life including academics achievement, physical ability, and strong social skills (Allen & Klein, 1996; The Hawn Foundation, 2011). Yet, they often do not have the tools to manage the strong feelings and emotions that come along with these challenges and high expectations, leading to significant levels of stress and anxiety (Reilly, 2015). This thesis will explore the development of a drama therapy method in response to the aforementioned challenges at a school in suburban Massachusetts. Specifically, the integration of drama therapy techniques that emphasized play, embodiment, and mind-body connection were applied to enhance a new mindfulness curriculum that the school was in process of adopting. The new curriculum enabled students to better acknowledge and understand strong emotions and behaviors in themselves and others and incorporate successful strategies for reducing their own anxiety.

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