Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Stephenson


This thesis examines how altered book making can be used as a coping skill for adolescents between the ages of 13 to 18 in an acute setting within the Partial Hospitalization Program in northern Massachusetts. Altered books are mixed media art journals that can be a platform for coping with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, just as previous research has shown journals have been for many decades. Research has outlined that adolescents need an equal mix of structure and freedom and crave the idea of being insightful and involved in their own treatment. The group process is a unique format to teach altered book making, giving clients the opportunity to impress upon one another. This thesis will allow the reader to gain insight on two weeks of art therapy sessions with adolescents in the PHP, showing how they adopted the use of altered books to help them cope while they were experiencing difficult symptoms of various mental health diagnoses. Clients who attended the program were able to start their own altered books using materials provided to them. During the research, it was found that implementing an altered book project with a large group of adolescents was challenging, yet successful in introducing a healthy coping skill to over 20 clients in the PHP. Clients also evidenced the importance of using good art materials and working alongside other adolescents who they trusted and felt safe with.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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