Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Carla Velazquez-Garcia, PhDc, MA, CT


With the onset of COVID-19 and the necessary isolation of a global pandemic, the therapeutic space was forced to redefine itself within the virtual realm as the ripple effect of collective trauma further compounded families healing from complex or relational trauma. Clinicians were virtually invited more into participants’ living spaces and interdependence with interpersonal family dynamics through this evolution. By combing the evidence-based practice of Trust-Based Relational Interventions with the framework of the Expressive Therapies Continuum, a more expansive, embodied, and uniquely client-centered, neurologically developmental approach emerged that engaged the healing potential of the caregiver-child relationship through increased co-regulation and attachment creating a connective bridge between the therapeutic space and participant’s homes while offering stability to adjusting daily family rhythms. Arts-based exploration was conducted through a collection of in-home expressive arts interventions formatted as a COVID-19 blog resource response for foster and adoptive families. Utilizing easily resourced materials and engagement of dyadic relationships, the interventions sought to meet participants where they were mentally, emotionally, and physically within daily rituals, creating pockets or ‘cocoons’ of healing connection. Results through triadic qualitative measurements revealed themes of increased experience of co-regulation and attunement, fostered non-verbal awareness, increased desire for connection, and pathways for expression of difficult emotions offering opportunities validation through both witnessing and empathetic listening. Further, a virtual space was offered for families’ individual artistic expressions of relationship to be shared creating a diverse sense of community, a defiant hope in the isolation of social distancing, to both clinicians and participants alike that fostered compassionate scaffolding; the ancient wisdom of the expressive arts offering movement in a global pause.

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.




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