Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Stephenson, Ph.d, ATR-BC, LCAT


To date no peer reviewed literature has been published using art therapy for the treatment of clients with eating disorders (EDs) in an outpatient treatment setting. Despite evidence-based treatment methods being used to help treat clients with EDs high rates of morality and relapse persist for clients with EDs (Belak, 2017, p.1). There is a need for creative approaches to ED treatment that can be used to enhance existing evidence-based treatment models. Art Therapy can provide clients with EDs the opportunity to engage in the creative process which allows them to momentarily lessen their defense mechanisms and explore their ED behaviors (Bucharová, 2020). Through the use of art making clients with EDs are able to feel their feelings rather than just explaining their feelings that traditional talk therapy alone often provides (Wolf et. al., 1985). To expand upon current research and contribute to the field’s current understanding, this writer designed and implemented a virtual 4-week peer support group for clients with EDs using evidence-based treatment methods and art therapy. This virtual Holiday drop-in peer support group was implemented in an outpatient ED treatment setting for individuals who are 18+ with an eating disorder. The client’s thoughtful participation and positive responses to the art therapy interventions, suggests that clients with EDs, specifically those with AN, BN, OSFED, can benefit from art therapy and supports the need for further research.

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