Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Denise Malis


Psychosis is a mental health condition in which an individual loses touch with reality. Therefore, it is often considered difficult to study and treat and highly stigmatized. Left untreated, psychosis can have devastating and debilitating effects on the individual and their loved ones. The integration of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and art therapy (AT) as cognitive behavioral art therapy (CBAT) may yield greater benefits to individuals with psychosis than either treatment method administered alone. Using a combined approach of AT and CBT may aid delivery of therapy, reinforce skill retention and feelings of mastery, and facilitate social interactions. This capstone thesis aims to address the preliminary question of whether CBAT can be an effective adjunctive treatment for psychosis (CBATp). A method of CBATp with two directives was developed and implemented at a Boston-area psychotic-specific inpatient unit. Thematic analysis of the author’s process notes and art-based reflections resulted in themes which explored the content and process from the perspective of group participants and facilitator. Results indicated for participants that making sense of their chaotic inner world through art generally appeared to allow for learning, affect regulation, comprehension of psychoeducational concepts by creating and exploring imagery and metaphor, and resulted in rich discussions. Underscoring this CBATp approach was therapist flexibility and ability to validate the thought and creative processes of individuals with psychosis. Clinicians are encouraged to consider the potential use of integrative psychotherapeutic and expressive treatments for psychosis. Implications for future research and recommendations are indicated.

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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