Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Arts Therapy


Rochele Royster


Art therapy;Art-based research;El-duende one-canvas;Heuristic self-inquiry;Neurodiversity;Neurodiversity-affirming practice


This study examines the unmasking journey of a neurodivergent art therapy student through an art-based heuristic self-inquiry. The rationale lies in understanding the challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals and exploring the process of unmasking within the context of neurodiversity and art therapy. Participants consisted of the researcher, a neurodivergent art therapy student, who utilized a qualitative approach. The art-based heuristic methodology involved the engagement in response art, the El Duende Process Painting, and journal reflections to document the author’s unmasking journey. Data analysis involved thematic analysis, with key findings underscoring the significance of safety, belonging, and authenticity in the unmasking process. The implications underscore the need for additional research on the development of neurodiversity-affirming therapeutic practices, as well as the potential benefits of integrating art therapy for neurodivergent populations to promote self-discovery and emotional well-being.


Open Access



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