Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Meg Chang


There is increasing research suggesting presence as the foundation of therapeutic work with clients and is becoming just as important a concept as theoretical orientation of therapists. This literature review focuses on understanding the skill of presence by looking at existing literature on the concept and suggests expressive arts and meditative practices as a tool to cultivate therapeutic presence. Using the Geller-Greenberg model of Therapeutic Presence as the foundation, I answer two questions in this thesis, what presence means conceptually and how therapists can achieve presence when working with clients. By its very nature, Expressive arts therapy with its focus on poiesis and imagination cultivates presence and engages individuals on a multisensory level. Similarly, daily meditative practices connect individuals to their inner thoughts, feelings and resources to respond to the environment and interact with others. All of these aspects are shown to foster presence and during this research I created a daily practice of beginning my day with my Buddhist practice followed by 30 mins of engagement in some creative process. Though, I explored my personal relationship to arts as an expressive arts therapist and a Buddhist meditative practice as ways to become present with clients, I view presence as an essential skill that can be cultivated through various practices and rituals.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




The author owns the copyright to this work.