Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


E. Kellogg


The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with negative mental health outcomes, including increased rates of anxiety among adolescents. Adolescents with social-emotional disabilities experience additional challenges adapting to disruptions in routine and coping with feelings of anxiety caused by the pandemic. While effective treatments for reducing symptoms of anxiety exist, a large proportion of adolescents with clinical or sub-clinical levels of anxiety lack access to such treatment or do not seek out treatment on their own. Schools are seen as an ideal setting to implement programs that teach adolescents effective coping skills, however, the pandemic has drastically altered school settings and resulted in unprecedented challenges to providing students opportunities to practice positive coping skills in a safe and engaging manner. A highly adaptable therapeutic group, informed by both traditional and expressive therapies, may be uniquely suited to address symptoms of anxiety for adolescents amidst COVID-19. This thesis explored the development of a group that aimed to promote and practice movement-based coping strategies with anxious adolescents who attended a hybrid model, therapeutic school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future research on the efficacy of movement-based coping skills in both virtual and physical school settings is recommended, along with additional considerations of trauma and cultural implications in the aftermath of COVID-19.

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