Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Donna Owens


Systemic racism has plagued people of color for many years. The thought of advancing in this world has been cut down by systems put in place to advance the White agenda. One of those systems is the health care system. Addiction and mental health care are areas where identifying as a person of color can be a hinderance when seeking treatment. Addiction and mental health have also been stigmatized, and treatment for people of color is available but lacks affordability. This literature review addresses the layers of what systemic racism is and how it has affected the lives of multicultural populations. It will also reveal a gap in research on expressive arts therapy and addiction, mental health, and systemic racism. There is adequate research on the other modalities, but minimal in expressive arts. Because of the limited literature, non-minority clinicians do not have adequate evidence-based practices that can educate them on how to deal with the intersectionality of helping a client who is a person of color, with an addiction and/or managing their mental health. Through this journey I have learned that without a change in societal views there will always be disparities in treatment of any kind. This inquiry is important to the field because expressive arts therapy is still relatively new, and a good avenue for enhancing quality of life for people of color suffering from addiction. Also, there needs to be a way to allow maximum success in treating clients despite their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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