Graduation Date

Spring 2022

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Project Type

Mixed Methods

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Art Therapy


Art Therapy

Program Director

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

First Reader

Sarah Kremer, PhD, LPCC, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Pat. B. Allen, PhD


This exploratory mixed-methods, arts-based research investigated the therapeutic impact of fusing art therapy, group therapy, altered book making and alternative therapeutic modalities on self-efficacy, self- awareness, community efficacy and awareness, and reduction of racial trauma symptomology. The intention of the study was to understand the experiences of mental health professional participants (n =5), consequent to four therapeutic group sessions. Participants disclosed experienced symptoms of race-based PTSD pre and post sessions via the University of Connecticut Racial/Ethnic Trauma Survey, in addition to qualitative data. Qualitative data consisted of artwork, written responses, and exit interviews confirming the hypothesis that this radical healing experiential would be cathartically empowering and renewing for participants, fostering a renewed perspective of their self and community efficacy and awareness. The findings determined intersectional implications for future research, art therapy psychology, and the field of education to facilitate research on new healing experientials to reduce symptomology of racial trauma, and to challenge and change the omissive and emotionally abusive status quo.

Keywords: art-based research, art therapy psychology, altered book making, critical consciousness, intersectionality, narrative theory, racial trauma, race-based trauma, radical healing, self- efficacy, public education

IRB Number


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