Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Denise Malis


As international adoption becomes more popular and widely used in the United States, there is more evidence of the impact that adoption and the process of adaptation can have on an individual in both the long and short term, especially in the development of their identity. While adolescence tends to be a time when the individual is focused on creating and understanding their uniqueness, being an adoptee adds even more complexity to this task. Adopted children often struggle with issues of self- esteem, sense of belonging, identity formation, and safety (Harris, 2012). Art therapy has been successfully used with adolescents as a way of expression and as a tool for self-exploration. Through the use of art therapy, adolescents are able to communicate their feelings, develop coping strategies, and access the necessary open and safe space for self-exploration and self-reflection (Beaumont, 2012). Although there are many techniques that can be used within the art therapy profession, Beaumont (2012) explained that narrative, existential, and expressive techniques are the most useful with this population, as they allow adolescents to obtain a greater understanding of self and their identity.

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