Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Meg H. Chang


Expressive arts has deep roots in Black and Indigenous traditions of individual and collective healing, empowerment, and social change which have sustained marginalized groups for centuries. Improvisation has often been a key feature in these traditional practices, requiring participants to engage in an embodiment of the self in context, interpersonal attunement, group cohesion and connection, collaboration and power sharing, empathy, and the unearthing and creation of knowledge and reality. These qualities bear many similarities to theoretical principles upheld in Westernized expressive arts therapy practice and the conditions necessary for social change. Recognizing improvisational expressive arts as an invention and therapeutic tool of marginalized populations that by nature privileges non-dominant ways of knowing and positioning it within the context of social change makes it uniquely suited to combat systemically oppressive dominant cultural ideals. Comprehensive sexual health education is not federally or locally mandated in the United States, and the information that is available to youth is often not inclusive, fact-based, nor medically accurate, and tends to be biased toward values held by dominant outside stakeholders. A culture of oppression further restricts access to much-needed information and often deliberately excludes those within marginalized populations. This paper explores the use of improvisation in expressive arts as an entry point into the work of increasing access to relevant sexual and reproductive health resources.

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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