Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Stephenson


Over four weeks, topics of emotion, physical and body sensation, and chronic pain using art therapy were explored. The therapy provided a foundation for practicing mindfulness, increasing awareness, and expressing various symptoms such as somatic discomfort and emotional dysregulation. I co-facilitated a group consisting of individuals between the ages of 23 and 70 identifying as male or female, with a mix of white and black clients from the middle-class bracket. The group participated in art therapy and mindful meditation sessions in an outpatient program. Through this experience, I discovered that many individuals dissociate from their pain and emotional well-being. While chronic pain and mental health are comorbid, dissociation was a common theme that emerged from research and observation. While the group members felt comfortable discussing their chronic pain, they struggled with learning how to live with it and listen to their bodies. However, through mindfulness and art therapy, the group was able to become more aware of where the pain existed in their bodies and how to associate with it. I observed clients discussing their intolerance to pain through art and helped them learn to build tolerance while changing their core beliefs about their physical and emotional health.

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