Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Stephenson


This literature review explores the history of modern adoption and the effects on the adopted from a developmental, emotional, and behavioral standpoint. The review aims at addressing these specific needs through the use of art therapy. To become better acquainted with the concept, the history of modern adoption, as it pertains to the United States, is summarized with three subcategories as a focus points: domestic, international, and the foster care system. Building off of the history is a reflection on the past research surrounding adoption by considering adverse childhood experiences, complex trauma, attachment, and identity formation as it relates. Legislation and models are also mentioned as a way of documenting societal changes in view and procedure in supporting adoptive families and individuals with a focus on how art and expressive therapies could be and has aided adoptees throughout their development as a means of restoring and preventing. Through the discussion of these topics, it is suggested that the adoption experience can be considered a complex trauma which results in various developmental differences in areas of attachment, identity formation, and stress response.

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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