Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Meg Chang


This literature review thematically explores the potential benefits of the Focusing-Oriented Expressive Art Therapy (FOAT) approach as a treatment for shame for adults survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The goals of this literature review are to discuss the characteristics, consequences and prevalence of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and its impact on subsequent pathology as well as outline terms and themes related to shame, dissociation, and avoidance; explore treatment models for working with shame-based negative sequelae for CSA survivors; investigate the theoretical models and benefits of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Sensorimotor for working with trauma and the body; condense the extensive evidence for mindfulness and self-compassion practices; highlight the literature on arts-based activities for trauma and shameful self-schema; ultimately, to provide perspective on the FOAT’s potential for bringing healing for adult survivors of CSA. The research was chosen and prioritized based on how recently the the research was performed as well as how precise in regards to the intersection of shame symptomology, expressive arts, FOAT and CSA. Two studies are reviewed: one phenomenological study by Mills & Daniluk (2002) assessing the impacts of Dance Therapy (DT) on a purposively sampled female adult survivors of CSA for helping survivors reconnect to their bodies and one true experimental study by Collier and Wayment (2019) on on the impact of art-making incorporated with mindfulness for mood-repair while intentionally focusing on (i.e. not dissociating from) a distressing event. In addition to critically reviewing these studies, this literature review seeks to thematically provide a descriptive and comprehensive scope on all the research on shame, CSA, dissociation, and mindfulness as well as self-compassion based creative practices. The evidence suggests that the lasting shame from childhood sexual abuse are benefitted by the therapeutic factors of self-compassionate mindfulness paired with embodied art-making through the FOAT approach.

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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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