Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Stephenson


This paper examines six sessions of an open studio art therapy group with three older children in a therapeutic day school, with a specific focus on social skills. The design of this study was based on the presenting needs of the students who were referred to the group which included improvement in social skills and self-expression, with the support of research in trauma, attachment, neurobiology, and art therapy. The participating students are all male, range in age from 11 to 14 years old, and each identify with different cultural backgrounds. The students were provided with a studio space and materials for six sessions of group art therapy. It was documented by the two group leaders, both clinical interns studying expressive arts, in the form of group notes and individual notes. Sessions were further processed through journaling, art making, and debriefing between group leaders after each one. The observations and findings suggest that the art therapy group sessions had a different effect on each participant’s ability to communicate and connect with other. The observations made suggest that the open studio art therapy group had some positive effects on social interactions and positive engagement which may increase as sessions continue. Group art therapy with an open studio concept may be an effective intervention for this population however it requires further exploration and research.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




The author owns the copyright to this work.