Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Raquel C. Stephenson


Perfectionistic behaviors are highly common in people with eating disorders. This study investigates the relationship between perfectionism, shame, and the ways in which art therapy can be utilized as a primary tool in eating disorder treatment. Based on the research below and the results of this study, integrating art therapy protocols in combination with talk based theoretical work around perfectionism can improve recovery and decrease struggles with perfectionism in persons with eating disorders. Patients at a residential eating disorder center participated in four consecutive weekly group therapy sessions that integrated art therapy protocols into a preexisting talk therapy based group on perfectionism. These groups were composed of 13-20 patients depending on the current state of the milieu. The group leader collected qualitative data by reflecting on the information shared by patients in each session. The current treatment options for persons with eating disorders are limited and this study exemplified the potential for the utilization of art therapy as a primary treatment method along with the need for an extensive increase in the amount of research available on eating disorder treatment.

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