Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Ara Parker


This literature review discusses how Expressive Arts Therapy can be used to create and continue ritual to generate safety with parentally bereaved children. For the purpose of this literature review, children include individuals under the age of 18. Each section, expressive arts, ritual, and grief/bereavement, is broken down to include definitions and important information as it relates to children. Expressive Arts Therapy uses a variety of art forms as therapy and has varied applications with a wide variety of populations. Death is inevitable and with it comes grief. Grief, in this thesis, refers to the feeling felt by those who have experienced the death of someone in their life, more specifically a parent, and the feelings related to that loss. By combining expressive arts and ritual, a mental health professional can better help someone grieving by creating containment, cultivating a safe space to openly grieve, and creating an opportunity to express emotions in a different capacity. Experiences at The Children’s Room informed this thesis as the author interned at the site as part of her requirements for this degree. Since this literature review was written at the time of the global pandemic with virus COVID-19, this thesis includes some discussion about the virus in relation to bereaved families since it appeared to have a compounding effect on both the parents and children in grieving families.

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