Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Madoka Urhausen


This thesis explores the use of sensory-based art therapy interventions with preschoolers with self-regulation difficulties. The mental health intern (MHI) at a preschool program conducted multisensory art therapy interventions with 11 students over eight weeks. Students participated in either social skills small groups or individual therapeutic sessions with the MHI. Students were referred for services due to social, emotional, behavioral, and developmental concerns, specifically how those issues manifested in difficulties with self-regulation. These students exhibited unexpected and persistent periods of dysregulation as evidenced by disruptive and unsafe behaviors in the classroom including aggression towards peers. Students participated in different sensory-art based interventions each week. Developmentally appropriate interventions were designed for students to experience a variety of sensations, to increase autonomy, and to offer coping skills. Varying levels of engagement and enjoyment were noted among students. Students reported positive experiences during participation in most of the interventions. Teachers reported decreased negative behaviors displayed in the classroom. Information gathered in this thesis warrants further research regarding sensory-based art therapy treatment with preschoolers.

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