Date of Award

Fall 9-15-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Theresa Benson, Ph.D.


Thirty percent of all women worldwide will experience intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime (WHO, 2019). IPV is damaging to the body and mind, and impacts every area of a woman’s life, and frequently results in trauma (Murray, et al., 2017). The seriousness and prevalence of intimate partner violence clearly warrants research into effective treatments. Consequently, this literature review examines existing arts-based interventions that address the symptomology of trauma and how those interventions could specifically benefit victim-survivors of IPV. Research in neuroscience has shown that memories of a traumatic experience are often stored as disconnected fragments and overwhelming bodily sensations (Sarid & Huss, 2010) which can be difficult to understand or verbalize. Therefore, interventions which offer non-verbal forms of communication, that calm the nervous system and that promote left/right brain integration are essential for trauma recovery (van der Kolk, 2014). The unique characteristics of the creative art therapies have been shown to be particularly well-suited as a treatment for trauma recovery (Henderson, et al., 2007). Art-based interventions can stabilize the nervous system, promote memory integration, help a person make meaning of their experiences (Hass-Cohen, et al., 2018) and offer opportunities for victim-survivors of intimate partner violence to imagine, practice, perform and envision a new life that is no longer defined by abuse and violence.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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