Date of Award

Spring 4-24-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Stephenson


People facing housing insecurity and homelessness are at a greater risk of loneliness than the average American. In the current decade, the number of unaccompanied women who face housing insecurity has grown. Organizations like day shelters and community resource centers can be places where this population can engage in socialization and lay down the foundation for communities within a larger systematic framework. Literature has identified the open studio method of art therapy in community centers as an effective method for participants to freely create art. In this intervention, the open studio was explored as a method of cultivating community and increasing socialization for women at a day shelter. An open studio method of art therapy is implemented in three sessions to observe the factors that contribute to social connection in the space and the participant’s responses to weekly open-ended questions about what the space means to them. The group consisted of visitors to the shelter who self-identify as women ages 21-65. Data is collected through a written response prompt for participants, facilitator observations, journals, and art responses. The results found that adaptability, authenticity, autonomy, and safety are all factors that lead to a successful implementation of this method. Further research could explore the evolution of an open studio community over a longer period of time.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




The author owns the copyright to this work.