Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
In this paper, I reviewed the past, present, and what I argue is the best possible future for clinical practice with TGNC clients. I began with an overview of the broad approaches to deviance from the norm in the field of mental healthcare: starting with approaching trans people with a pathologizing model; continuing on to a cultural competence model, which was an improvement but did not ultimately challenge the larger colonial framework that led to the pathologization in the first place; and ended with the humanity-affirming paradigms of decolonization and cultural humility.
The literature review was concerned with narrative therapy and its roots in post-structuralism; expressive arts therapy and its core ideas of client agency, Jungian active imagination, and the intermodal transfer; and combining NT and ExTH to meet trans clients’ needs. The biggest area of overlap in NT and ExTH is the intervention of externalization. By externalizing a problem in NT or placing feelings into a sculpture or art piece in ExTH, the client can gain the distance to realize “I am not the problem, the problem is the problem”. Narrative therapy is focused around one’s own power and agency to tell one’s own story, which inherently challenges exploitative systems.
My conclusion was: if we can embody the principles of decolonization and cultural humility, we can support the growth and transformation of a vibrant, beautiful, irreplaceable subset of humanity. And, I argue, narrative therapy and expressive arts therapy are two of the best ways to accomplish this.
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Huston, EJ, "Beyond the Dominant Paradigm: Integrating Expressive Arts Therapy and Narrative Therapy to Best Serve the Needs of Trans and Gender Non-conforming People: A Literature Review" (2021). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 417.
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