Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Laura Wood, Ph.D., RDT/BCT


Childhood instability and the associated trauma are risk factors for homelessness, a circumstance which is perilous and traumatizing in itself. In order to survive such dangerous situations, unhoused individuals can develop protective behaviors to keep others away, which makes building and maintaining interpersonal relationships difficult. Beyond this, aspects of childhood instability can negatively affect socialization and interpersonal skills; for example, attachment theory suggests that attachment-based trauma (resulting from an insecure relationship with a caregiver) can negatively impact self-regulation and social skills into adulthood. This literature review seeks to better understand how two specific approaches to treatment, person-centered therapy and drama therapy, may be especially helpful to unhoused individuals who struggle with interpersonal relations. Person-centered therapy focuses on the therapeutic relationship, as well as faith in the client and their experience. Drama therapy utilizes theatrical techniques to foster therapeutic change, with play being a core aspect of the modality. The playfulness of drama therapy, coupled with the trust and empathetic understanding of person-centered therapy, as well as the relational aspects of both approaches, may be especially helpful in bolstering social skills and navigating difficult behaviors; thereby being an especially effective treatment for unhoused individuals, who may struggle to seek treatment and maintain social connections.

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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