Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Basel Zayed


Grief is a natural human response to loss. This could be the loss of a loved one, a lost identity, a divorce, or the loss of a pet. Just as there are many types of loss, there are also many types of grief. Grief can present as uncomplicated or it can be traumatic, anticipatory, or cumulative. Grief can also develop into prolonged grief disorder as seen in the most updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-RT). Theorists from Sigmund Freud to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross to George Bonanno have developed a variety of grief models (O’Connor, 2019). While talk therapy, using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), has become commonly recommended for grieving individuals, research exists arguing that expressive arts therapy can also play a major therapeutic role in the grief process (Barak & Leichtentritt, 2017; Renzenbrink, 2021; Thompson, 2014). Historically, multiple modes of expression such as visual art, poetry, music, movement, and drama have been shown to contribute positively to grieving individuals and groups in cultures worldwide (Neimeyer, R. A., 2019). Play and ecotherapy are also highly therapeutic to people who are grieving. According to many peer-reviewed articles, books, and other sources, it is evident that the expressive arts are beneficial in the grief process. More research can be done in this area as the expressive arts incorporate many modalities and opportunities for growth and healing.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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