Ben LiFollow

Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Kelvin Ramirez


This arts-based research explores the current literature on the clinical uses of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) using art and play therapies. Previous studies that intersect with D&D and expressive arts interventions have been traditionally focused on drama and play therapies while this study focused on open studio practices based on art therapy methodologies. D&D in clinical settings has been effective in developing social connection between peers and emotional regulation. A 10-week art therapy group was conducted in a school setting with adolescents with academic anxiety, socioemotional disabilities, and developmental disabilities. The author provided a space for participants to create art in the presence of peers, imparted the use of painting as a coping technique, observed the multitude of ways in which participants derived satisfaction from D&D, and deconstructed the effect of in-game mechanics on participants’ play. D&D has the potential to be a versatile expressive arts medium that allows clinicians and clients to utilize their individual strengths and competencies in a safe and engaging manner. The author provides suggestions on how the framework can be adapted using emerging technologies and suggestions on how to modify both art and play to match the individual needs of clients.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Included in

Art Therapy Commons




The author owns the copyright to this work.