Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Chapin Stephenson


This thesis looks at sensory-specific art mediums with children with social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties (SEBD), interact with sensory-specific art mediums through the expressive therapies continuum (ETC) framework. This thesis acknowledges and explores how trauma and adverse childhood experiences impact a child’s cognitive and developmental capabilities and their role in how individuals engage with and process their art. This thesis is based on qualitative, arts-based research. Data was collected via note-taking, self-reflective journaling, and self-engagement of sensory-based art responses. The benefits of sensory and kinesthetic art were explored with children ages seven through fourteen, in a therapeutic day school during art therapy groups. The participants are children of various cultural backgrounds, demonstrating social, emotional, or behavioral difficulties. These children were introduced to different sensory-based art materials during their weekly 45-minute art therapy groups over the course of six weeks. This method highlights the benefits of traditional and non-traditional therapeutic art materials such as paint, slime, Play-Doh, rice, and cardboard. All materials were given through both structured and unstructured directives of exploration.

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