Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Lee Ann Thill


As a symptom of pathological disorder, dissociation is commonly seen as detrimental; yet dissociation is also frequently referenced as a typical occurrence for most people on a regular basis. This paper aimed to investigate and clarify definitions of dissociation as a phenomenon in mental health counseling treatment, and to examine the application of the modality of expressive arts therapy where dissociation is present. Dissociation was found to be widely regarded as a spectrum of phenomena within the subjective experiences of an individual, ranging from average to debilitating in severity. Research and expressive arts therapies were found to reflect theory informing treatment of dissociation as a response to traumatic events and circumstances. Some researchers questioned the etiology of dissociation. Expressive arts therapies were found to be valuable for success in treatment for dissociation and trauma. To improve efficacy of theory and treatment models, more research is needed to determine what differentiates dissociation from other disorders and to explore if the widely accepted average dissociations are as benign as they are regarded in the literature.




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