Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Jena Leake, REAT


This thesis investigated how expressive art therapy interventions based on imagination, creativity, and magical thinking can help facilitate adolescents' emotional development and healing. The study focused on how adolescents can grow and heal from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and/or trauma by revisiting imaginative play and creativity, where the impossible is possible and magic exists; a place where they can explore and play again through externalized methods. The use of imagination in the healing of adolescents was explored through the development of a two-phase intervention (a) creating their own mythical creature and (b) building a home for their mythical creature. There are three key findings of the present research. First, the imagination plays an important role in creativity, self-expression, and empowerment. Second, through the imagination, internal and external thoughts can be explored and invited into consciousness for deeper meaning-making. Third, through imagination, symbolism of unconscious thoughts can be explored through externalization and within a container that allows for a sense of safety and healing. The results of this thesis suggested it is possible that expressive arts therapies, used with adolescents with multiple ACEs and/or trauma, can allow for healing and growth.

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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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