Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Expressive Therapies


Denise Malis


Research shows an overwhelming need for holistic mental health care in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Its “wide-ranging social, psychological, and economic impact” further exasperates symptoms of psychological and developmental distress (Kopytin, 2021, p. 35). Contemporary art therapy literature highlights how art therapy with natural materials (eco art therapy) cultivates human resilience, as well a great source of healing and has made a resurgence since the pandemic (Kopytin, 2021). An ecological art therapy (EaT) method was developed to address the pervasive issue of disconnection and difficulties with self-awareness. This method utilized natural materials with special attention to culturally competent trauma-informed care group dynamics. Key principles of culturally centered eco-art therapy practices were used to develop the activity, including somatic awareness, ephemeral reflectivity, and ecological connectivity. The premise for this thesis argues that a necessary shift toward the de-colonization of holistic health approaches is through utilizing a culturally centering eco-art therapy (EaT) approach towards cultivating self-awareness. Additional research is warranted to determine the efficacy of EaT with a variety of populations.

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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




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