Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Meg H Chang, EdD, BC-DMT, LCAT


Those undergoing neurorehabilitation after stroke and traumatic brain injury report a diminished sense of overall wellness. This paper examines the conceivable benefits of introducing expressive arts therapies, which is the therapeutic use and combination of the visual arts, movement, drama, music, writing and other intermodal creative processes, into physical therapy and neurorehabilitation treatment planning. Expressive arts therapies have the capacity to engage with an individual’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual states concurrently. They simultaneously offer the ability to promote an increased sense of well-being, address mind-body disconnects, and process trauma non-verbally.

The sections of this narrative literature review focus on the following neurological rehabilitation treatment goals: identity development and building self-esteem; coping with chronic pain and disability; improving communication and motor control; increasing cognition and memory. Qualitative, quantitative and arts-based research articles are included to support the inclusion of expressive arts therapies interventions that support and increase progress in neurorehabilitation treatment completion. The majority of research to date has indicated that a variety of positive outcomes occur, with little negative effect, when expressive arts therapies interventions are employed with stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors. There is a pronounced need for further research about the benefits of pairing expressive arts therapies with physical and neurological rehabilitation and this paper acts as supporting evidence to that statement.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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