Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Donna Owens


Psychosomatic symptoms are often misunderstood and ignored by many individuals that see those that experience them as either hypochondriacs, or not a priority due to often being unexplained by modern medicine. Mindfulness-based practices have been one of the most common proven treatment methods in various studies to support the reduction and intensity of symptoms coming from emotional distress. Both art therapy and yoga were shown in some studies to do the same, but at a lower rate. I was drawn to exploring how to lessen psychosomatic symptoms by combining these three aspects of treatment to create a mindfulness-based art therapy and yoga group of students at a therapeutic day school in Massachusetts. Research in this area focuses on psychosomatic connection in headaches rather than a broader spectrum of symptoms, which leaves much unexplored. One of the most common factors I saw as a fault in my method, as well as various methods in the literature, was too short of a time in which the level of changes were measured. Longer-term programs, particularly in skill-based utilization in symptom management, were shown to be important. Also, understanding that a lot of this research is based on self-report, and a huge portion of those with psychosomatic symptoms have gone through trauma, trust, safety, and rapport are vital to get the most accurate responses. The method I explored was seen to lessen psychosomatic symptoms in participants.

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