Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Ara Parker


This thesis explored the ways in which expressive arts therapy (ExAT) could be incorporated into a small therapeutic high school’s visual arts program. Through the development and implementation of a method, intermodal exchange between visual art and music was integrated into both the school’s art program and its group counseling offerings. Informed by a literature review of studio art therapy (SAT) as related to ExAT, three different interventions were used to fit within the frameworks of the high school’s offerings. The first intervention focused on making music with a few students within art classes while the rest of the class continued to make art. The second intervention incorporated ExAT exercises into a bi-weekly group therapy session for students. The third intervention incorporated music therapy exercises into another bi-weekly group therapy session for students. The results and observations were recorded autoethnographically. The interventions were well received by the students and staff. Observed benefits included increased engagement in the arts by previously averse students, increased expression of emotional states by students, and increased social connectivity amongst students. This thesis hopes to support the addition of ExAT classes in schools to augment traditional art, music, and theatre offerings.

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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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