The Role of Circus Arts in Art Therapy

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Bonk, Ray
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
In this research study, it was hypothesized that when circus arts are added to an art therapy program, then there would be a positive increase in kinesthetic awareness, emotional regulation, and sense of self in the client. This case study involved a child age 10, who engaged in a variety of circus arts, such as juggling, tumbling, unicycling, and some aerial basics, including aerial silks, aerial hoop, and trapeze. This was done in addition to an art directive involving body maps, which was used to qualitatively measure emotional regulation. The results found that the participant felt more comfortable with expressing emotional states graphically as opposed to verbally and reported a change in mood after engaging in circus arts. Future research is discussed, with considerations to age and gender.