Date of Award

Spring 4-4-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Chapin Stephenson


Finding an art therapy directive that can be effective in engaging patients with a wide range of mental health diagnoses can be challenging. Even more so is a clinician’s ability to foster a sense of safety within the therapeutic group space of a psychiatric hospital. Many patients feel vulnerable in these settings given the history of institutionalism, as well as their experience of being uprooted from their typical environments and routines. As an art therapist in this setting, understanding which materials can best suit this population may be challenging, often achieved through a process of trail-and-error. The implementation of art therapy in psychiatric care has been proven effective throughout history. More specifically, the use of boxes and collage materials have been found meaningful within the field of art therapy research. This paper explores the therapist’s role in fostering a safe therapeutic space, the use of boxes in supporting containment, collage as a way to facilitate a non-judgmental and non-threatening atmosphere for patients diagnosed with various mood, personality, psychotic and substance use disorders, and the importance of emotional containment in psychiatric care.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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