Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Carla Velazquez-Garcia


This thesis examined the value and intersection of intermodal Expressive Arts therapy work and childhood identity development. Through a critical review of the literature on identity work, Expressive Arts therapy, and child-centered approaches the author extricated reoccurring themes in each approach. The author also identified gaps in field research pertaining specifically to the 7-9 year old prepubescent population and the growing need for a holistic, arts-based approach to healthy identity exploration and development prior to the adolescent stage. To address this, the proposed method was used in a dyad with two 8-year-old cis-female children in a therapeutic school environment over the course of 6 consecutive weeks. The method was designed as a treatment plan to address 4 main points of personal identity, self-expression, self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-efficacy as well as social identity in order to address the multifaceted nature of our individual identities both internally and externally. Results and findings collected demonstrated the effectiveness of the child-centered, Expressive Arts therapy approach to identity work with this population while also calling attention to unsuccessful aspects of the proposed method, areas that require improvement and expansion to broaden its range of demographics. Literature and studies applicable to the value and intersection of intermodal Expressive Arts therapy, child-centered approaches to treatment and childhood identity development were examined identifying gaps in the current research and the growing need to address such disparities. The literature review conducted by the author to support their developing method looks at topics such as interventions that are school based or conducted in an educational setting, arts-based research methods and means of data collection and the various benefits of expressive art therapy group work with children.

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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