Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Elizabeth Kellogg


Nature-based expressive arts therapy promotes the holistic healing and recovery of individuals by interweaving the practices of ecopsychology, ecotherapy, and expressive arts therapy. These interventions have been proven to mediate ranges of symptomologies, such as anxiety disorders and PTSD. Research conducted by the U.S. National Park Services indicates that African- Americans are less likely to have a positive relationship to nature than all other racial groups. The amplification of this report without introspection of its context perpetuates racialized generalizations. This can limit a black individual’s ability to embrace their ecological identity and be receptive of nature-based expressive arts therapy interventions. Auto-ethnography and literature review rooted in eco-critical race feminism perspectives are instruments the author utilizes to develop research analyzing the patterns of social, cultural, and political experiences that impact African-Americans and their collective relationship to nature. Since recovery requires remembrance and mourning (Herman, 1992), the author addresses the importance for African-Americans to process ecological grief. As nature-based expressive arts therapy continues to evolve, the significance for clinicians in this field to acquire oppositional gaze, a habit of critically assessing how white supremacy implicitly and explicitly influences their relationships to African-American clients is explored within this research. The benefits of centralizing diverse representation in nature-based research and uplifting the stories of African-Americans who display their enchantment with the eco-creative process are also highlighted. These topics are discussed within this literature review to advocate for the well-being of African-American clients and the collective conscious of America.

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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