Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies


To be a refugee is to know loss intimately. The refugee experience can be characterized by the multidimensional loss the loss of loved ones, support networks, economic security, culture, safety, and home.1 2 The compounding of traumatic experience can have a profound effect on belief systems and identity. This paper will explore the relationship between trauma and ontological state in resettled refugee children. The philosophical concept of ontological security considers the ability create consistent expectations about the way the world operates to a stable mental state.3 The three states of ontology security and shock will be useful in exploring the impact of trauma on both social and psychological states. Art therapy can be an effective method in aiding refugee children in overcoming trauma because it addresses their ontological security. Lastly, this paper reports on two art therapy programs the Creative Workshops and the Devon Behavioral Support Team.

1 Canefe, Nicholas. 2010. "To Feel at Home Abroad or No Place Like Home: Meanings of Displacement in Refugee Studies." Refuge 27 (2): 147.

2 McLellan, Janet. 2015. "Religious Responses to Bereavement, Grief, and Loss Among." Journal of Loss and Trauma 20 (2): 133.

3 Jackson, R.L. 2010. "Ontological Insecurity." Vol. 2. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc. 511-512.