Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Meg Chang


Sexual violence is a common experience throughout the United States. The aftermath of this traumatic experience impacts the entire body, including the emotional, physical, and mental states of an individual. The distressing symptoms of sexual violence can last from weeks to years. The aftermath of sexual violence can make it difficult for victims to complete daily tasks and can lead to disorders such as Depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This literature review explores the current treatments used with survivors of sexual violence, which include trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and other effective treatments. Due to the trauma affecting the entire body, specifically the Broca’s area, the verbal part of the brain, this review explores the need for more nonverbal treatment methods. The focus question behind this research is to discover if expressive arts therapy in particular can be beneficial as a treatment for survivors of sexual violence. The growing research on expressive arts therapy shows that it offers a holistic approach that moves beyond verbal expression and utilizes the integration of music, art, drama, and movement. This thesis demonstrates that expressive arts therapy can increase trauma healing through the individual's physical, emotional, and mental parts. Research shows that an integrated, whole-body approach that uses a variety of art forms may be helpful in daily executive functioning, processing, and expressing the trauma, growth, and healing. Additionally, this literature review demonstrates the need for further research to confirm its effectiveness with individuals who have experienced sexual violence.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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