Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel C. Stephenson


Touch is an incredible tool that allows humans to connect with one another. It is instrumental in art therapy as we work with different populations and materials. Touch can occur in many ways but must be clearly defined in the therapeutic space, especially regarding ethical codes. This paper explored touch within senior living communities across different levels of care, including dementia care. A variety of art materials were used including drawing materials, collage, clay, and digital art. Art experiences were documented and analyzed through journaling and reflective artmaking. Four patterns emerged when examining the results including connection to product, differences across textures, physical ability, and limitations, and how touch effects the therapeutic relationship. Touch deprivation and a post-COVID-19 world was also explored. Future research may explore ethics for touch in art therapy and how to make art materials more accessible to those with physical disability.

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.




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