Effects of Creative Therapies in Women Experiencing Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Caitlin Bolte, University of South Dakota


This paper explores the observed impact that creative therapies (CTs) may have therapeutically on women (ages 18-64) who are experiencing symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The goal to explore women’s changes in symptoms and outcomes after the participation in a CT was achieved by conducting interviews with qualified therapists who spoke of their perceptions of their female clients’ effects. The study found supporting evidence of therapists’ perspectives mirroring the literature and validating the positive effects CTs have to reducing PTSD symptomology. Medication and psychotherapy are common evidence-based treatments. According to the literature, clients can use CT forms including art, dance/movement, drama, expressive art, and music in tandem with or in place of the traditional treatment methods. A qualitative approach was utilized, and data was analyzed using grounded theory methodology. Results were inconclusive, but the themes observed aligned the current literature. Social support and positive emotional affect were the most supported themes with increased prevalence after the use of CTs.