Date of Award

Spring 4-28-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Chapin Stephenson


Executive functioning skills can be thought of as our brain’s administration team. They help people manage and act on information and organize it accordingly. When executive functions are disrupted, executive dysfunction occurs. The significance of these skills in relation to building a successful life, has caused there to be substantial research that focuses on short term interventions that are meant to benefit executive functioning skills. These interventions are based in computerized training, hybrid of computer and non-computer games, aerobic exercise, martial arts and mindfulness practices, and classroom curricula. The limitation with these interventions is that only 4 of the 90 studies included artistic media. Existing literature supports the relationship between art therapy and executive functioning. The findings from this literature review examine the connection between the Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC) and executive functioning skills. Findings support that using the ETC has the potential to help develop executive functioning in children, thus setting them up for a successful future. The use of the ETC also fills the gap for creative short-term interventions that are tailored to enhance executive functioning skills. The ETC provides directives at each level that target different executive functioning skills. The last finding shows how the ETC can be used to enhance executive functioning in clients with Alzheimer’s and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), both of which are causes of executive dysfunction.

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