Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Stephenson, Ph.D., ATR-BC, LCAT


This literature review introduces the importance of art therapy, storytelling, and narrative therapy for refugee children. While familiarizing themselves with a new habitat and way of living, this population battles being a minority, an immigrant, learning a new culture and language, and social-economic difficulties. This literature review brings to light the challenges and difficulties children face within their own trauma and anxiety. The passing on of trauma generationally, historically, culturally, or genetically is common, as is parents’ countertransference. Re-adaptation is essential for children who experience trauma, especially when escaping war. Childhood trauma affects the future adult state of mind. This literature review exemplifies how children are more communicative through storytelling and narrative therapy, depicting how they can process trauma through art. Narrative therapy breaks cultural barriers that may separate clinicians and clients as it provides an individual perspective. Communicating through art allows one to self-reflect subconsciously and consciously without having to use words. Four findings arise in this review: 1) Children who experience trauma and exposure to an unsafe environment communicate better through visuals than words; 2) Narrative therapy and storytelling support mental health; 3) Refugees are more comfortable with silence than with verbal communication; and 4) Art can promote a sense of home and comfort through similarities, relationships, culture, and community.

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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