Date of Award

Summer 6-11-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Ara Parker


Expressive Arts Therapists are uniquely situated as both artists and mental health counselors working in psychological pedagogy rooted in systems of oppression. Given the arts-based approaches to the therapeutic relationship, it can be unethical to offer these approaches without acknowledgement of the ways in which the arts intersect with social justice, and justice is only viable if practitioners critically review the clinical mental health education they are consuming from the institutions they learn in, specifically trauma-informed mental health research assimilation and treatment approaches for Expressive Arts Therapists in training, practice, and education. A review of the literature in this paper hopes to illuminate the necessity for Expressive Arts Therapists to creatively and critically inquire about mental health research and arts-based therapeutic practices in order to provide care to LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities, where self-as-instrument is creatively engaged in pedagogy and practice, where the internal is reflected externally, for the Expressive Arts Therapist and the “other”, within and without the therapeutic relationship. Experiential learning with techniques from poetics, Playback Theatre and performative writing allow space to explore, creatively, social justice nuances, specifically, in historically oppressed systems, such as the mental health system. This thesis includes the author’s arts-based reflections on this literature review through poetics and performative writing explorations of their lived experience as an expressive arts therapy student, intern in the mental health field, and lesbian identified single-Mom-by-choice.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




The author owns the copyright to this work.