Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Sarah Hamil, Ph.D., LCSW, RPT-S, ATR-BC


This critical literature review and personal arts-based investigation provides a brief history, a summary of the current use, and limitations of mental health and art therapy assessments today. Every individual is uniquely and authentically created from a combination of biological attributes, surroundings, personal experiences, and preferences. We share commonalities such as interests, values, morals, culture, religion, age, etc., but this is not to say that we will behave or respond identically in any situation. Therapists must learn how to adapt and use appropriate tools and measures for each client's specific needs, however, there is no specific training or precise guidelines regarding this art of adaptation. An uncommon practice in the United States is research conducted via the expressive arts modalities, including art, music, dance, drama, expressive arts, or multi-modal (Barone, 2012). Assessments have the potential to provide more efficient and culturally relevant information than the current, outdated assessments in use to help gain a better understanding for future research. This thesis contains a literary review regarding the use of assessments, limitations, and standards and policy; the same concepts addressed from an art therapy perspective; exploration of the use of arts-based research; and drawing upon the author’s personal arts-based research. Additionally, it is suggested future research recommendations are derived from a critical analysis of the literature, personal reflection using arts-based research, and genuine personal inquiries. Art therapists should constantly challenge creation methods, ways of research, and assessments in the field to generate an unbiased, inclusive, trauma informed and culturally aware approach that could accommodate to every individual with specialized, authentic, quality-based care.

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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