Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Donna C Owens


In this thesis I explore the concept of self-care for graduate students in the field of mental health counseling through their pre-licensure period, who I refer to as counselors-in-training. The thesis begins with a description of the existing literature on what challenges are unique to this field and population and how self-care may mediate the impact of such stressors as burnout, secondary or vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue, all of which can lead to impaired competence and/or leaving the profession. I have identified three foundational components to approach self-care: self-awareness/self-reflection, self-compassion, and balance. I believe these foundational elements are best accessed through expressive art therapy interventions. I have selected two modalities, mindfulness and journaling within expressive arts that I have found to be the most accessible and impactful in developing a sustainable self-care practice for the long-term well-being of counselors-in-training. A review of literature and discussion of my own experience utilizing these modalities have proven to be a valuable approach to creating an effective set of skills and methods to use as a counselor-in-training as well as use within my professional practice.

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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