Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2020

First Advisor

Jayashree George

Second Advisor

Megan Robb

Third Advisor

Shelly Gobel-Parker


ABSTRACT Examining Black Art Therapy Graduate Student’s Experiences with Racial Battle Fatigue by Marilyn Holmes Chairperson: Jayashree George, DA, ATR-BC, LMFT, SEP Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF) is a term used to describe the psychological and physiological symptoms Black students experience after repeated exposure to microaggressions in higher academic settings (Smith, Yosso, & Solorzano, 2006). In this study, I sought to explore the specific experiences with RBF of current and former Black art therapy in their graduate programs and supervision. Supervision is an essential and necessary aspect of art therapy education that involves power dynamics that can be complicated by race. I also sought to explore the strategies these current and former graduate students are using to cope with RBF. Further, if art is one of those strategies, this inquiry seeks to explore the art experience. This research project used semi-structured interviews with art therapy students and emerging professionals to examine their graduate educational experience. This study found that Black art therapy graduate students do experience RBF both in the classroom and in their internship/practicum experiences and use art among a myriad of other strategies to alleviate their symptoms. The people who participated in this study also provided ideas and strategies to mitigate and prevent the symptoms of RBF for future Black art therapy graduate students. Keywords: race, racial battle fatigue, art therapy, art therapy students, emerging professionals