Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Stephenson


This thesis explores the development of a method to gain a deeper understanding of the process of making bread’s potential as art therapy. The Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC), mindfulness arts-based research, and neurobiological research provide the foundation for understanding the method. Lusebrink and Hinz's schematic framework, the ETC provides a therapeutic model for the applications of media in art therapy. Research posits that the three levels of the ETC, Kinesthetic/Sensory, Perceptual/Affective, and Cognitive/Symbolic reflect different functions and structures in the brain that process visual and affective information (Lusebrink, 2004). In addition, the application of new techniques in brain imaging has expanded the understanding of the different functions and structures of the brain involved in information processing (Lusebrink, 2004). The mindfulness arts-based literature is also associated with arousing the brain region associated with more adaptive responses to stressful or negative situations (Davis & Hays, 2011). This thesis will present the development and interpretation of the bread-making method with one group of children between the ages of eight through eleven in a residential setting. Observations from the group illuminated the participant's self-expression, their engagement with the media, and their connection to the therapeutic goals. Finally, the method of breadmaking suggests that it would likely apply to other populations with a wide range of mental health issues and holds the potential to be a powerful vehicle both culturally and socioeconomically.

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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