Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Rebecca Zarate


A lack of queer acceptance in all areas of life has been shown in large-scale studies to exacerbate the mental health needs of LGBTQIA+ individuals. LGBTQIA+ youth are at a particular risk for suicidality, self-harm, low self-esteem, and other extreme adverse mental health outcomes if their support network does not accept their identity, according to research. Because LGBTQIA+ youth are at a greater risk of adverse mental health outcomes, it is essential for higher levels of mental health care to address the needs of the queer community. The exclusion of queer-inclusive subjects from the partial hospitalization program (PHP) group curriculum limits opportunities for representation and validation of queer individuals. The group model of PHPs is an ideal space to develop queer-centered interventions that can help foster self-acceptance. Small scale phenomenological studies have been done on the effectiveness of expressive arts methods on self-esteem in adolescents. The expressive arts provide a space where difficult emotions can be processed through a variety of nonverbal and verbal artmaking modalities. This writer has conducted a two-session expressive arts method utilizing collage-making and storytelling to explore gender identity in the PHP setting. The results of the method highlight the necessity of talking about gender and sexual identity in adolescent PHPs. This method may be adapted for use in all levels of mental health care including outpatient, CBAT, PHPs, inpatient, support groups, and community outreach for queer advocacy.

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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