Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel C. Stephenson


Many people experience dysregulations for all kinds of reasons. Our bodies are constantly sensing our environments and taking in information. Recent research shows mind-body approaches, such as art therapy, can increase somatic awareness and self-acceptance. The posed question for this papers research was if art therapy experiences are combined with psychoeducation in polyvagal theory, how will it affect the participants level of self-compassion and understanding for their own self-regulation. A group of four women met for five total one-hour sessions over six weeks. They learned about the nervous system, how to identify its three states, gained skills for regulation, and engaged in somatic experiences through art therapy and mindfulness practices. Art materials from the Expressive Therapies Continuum were used with the participants as they were guided through each state of the nervous system. This allowed the participants to experience and deepen how they could identify state. It was found, when given information on the body’s functions from a nonjudgmental and curiosity-based approach, participants gained more self-compassion and increased interoception.

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




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