Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Jacelyn Biondo


The aim of this capstone is to review the connection between therapeutic alliance and attachment with traumatized children supported by expressive arts in therapy and to the impact on therapeutic outcome. Within the therapeutic encounter is a potent opportunity to develop healthy attachment patterns that bridge into the client’s other relationships in their life. Complex trauma affects children physically and psychologically leaving lifelong consequences of interpersonal challenges. The impetus for study of this topic was curiosity centered on the impact of the therapeutic alliance as it relates to attachment, and therapeutic outcomes. Throughout the course of this literature review, the role of the caregiver became a third person in the therapeutic relationship with a significant role in the child’s ability to experience positive working alliance and growth in therapy. The expressive art’s role as a mediator in the working alliance has been discovered to be an incredible conduit in the context of trauma treatment supporting the development of safety, trust, collaboration, and non-verbal ways of processing trauma. Implications of this validates the hypothesis that the therapeutic alliance is a significant contributor to the outcomes in therapy and the expressive arts have a valuable purpose as the mode of communication in therapy. Posttraumatic growth can occur in the wake of complex trauma. As clinicians, there is a responsibility to tend to the therapeutic alliance and view it as an integral, formative, critical and dynamic aspect of therapy.

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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