NACSW Online Continuing Education

Spirituality, Child Trauma, and Expressive Arts
Length: 1 CEU hour
Primary Audience:
  • Social Workers, Students, General Audience
Practice Level(s):
  • Basic
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Training Format: Video-based
Number of CE Hours: 1

Don Phelps, PhD, LCSW 
Registration FEES

Current Member Rate
Non-Member Rate

This session will focus on the relationship between expressive arts and spirituality when working with children that have been traumatized. The presenter's experiences with children at a large homeless shelter and an orphanage in Mexico will be highlighted. The more we learn about the connection between the arts and spirituality, the better we can help children heal by encouraging them to access the strength that comes from their faith.


  • Direct Practice: Individuals, Couples, Families and Children

Sample Content

Learning Objectives
As a result of this training, participants will be able to:

Following this training, participants will have a basic understanding of the theory underlying the use of expressive arts in treating children that have been traumatized.

Following this training, participants will understand the relationship between expressive arts and spiritual development.

Following this training, participants will learn practical skills regarding ways to assist children in their recovery from trauma by the use of expressive arts as a tool for spiritual growth.


Spirituality, Child Trauma and Expressive Arts Introduction: Throughout the last 27 years of my professional social work career I have been incorporating experiential and expressive therapies into my work with children and adolescents. In the last 5 years I have been privileged to serve children at a large homeless shelter and at an orphanage in Mexico. Both of these experiences are at faith based settings that promote spiritual growth and development. I immediately saw a connection between the use of expressive therapies and spiritual growth in children that had experienced trauma. Body of Presentation: 1) Expressive arts are frequently used to help children heal from trauma (examples and recent research). 2) Unique aspect - exploring the spiritual awareness and development that simultaneously occurs. (examples and research). 3) Guiding question of presentation: How is the connection between spirituality and expressive arts related to the healing of children from trauma? 4) The need to break the prevalent myth that children are not capable of cognitively grasping spiritual or religious ideas and concepts. 5) Personal experiences and examples running a group for children at a large, faith based homeless shelter in the Chicago area. 6) Personal experiences and examples working with children at a large, faith based orphanage in Manzanillo, Mexico during a university sabbatical in 2011. 7) Recent research in this area. Gaps in the research. Conclusion: As social workers learn more about the relationship between expressive arts and spirituality they can better assist children in their recovery from trauma by allowing them to access the strength and hope of their faith in God.


Don Phelps, Ph.D., LCSW is an associate professor of social work at Aurora University, near Chicago. During the last 27 years Don has also worked as a youth and family therapist, clinical director, chief operating officer, and executive director. He currently serves on the board of directors of several nonprofit organizations including the Center for Faith and Human Rights and the Bridge Interfaith Youth Center.

CE Accreditation Information

NACSW, provider #1078, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), phone: 800-225-6880, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program valid 1/27/18 – 1/27/21. NACSW maintains sole responsibility for the program. The North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW) is also recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0479. Social Workers will receive 1 continuing education clock hour(s) for participating in this training. It is the responsibility of participants to contact their licensing boards to verify that this training, as a distance education session, meets their jurisdictional standards for continuing education credit and/or licensure renewal.

Requirements for Earning Continuing Education Contact Hours

Requirements to earn continuing education contact hours for home-study courses include: a) engaging with all the required materials provided by this training; b) completing and submitting an on-line evaluation of this session; c) receiving a grade of 80% or better on the “open-book” post-workshop quiz. Session participants who meet these three requirements will receive a continuing education contact hour certificate from NACSW on-line immediately following their completion of this course.

Registration Fee and Refunds

The registration fee covers engaging in all the required materials provided by the on-line training as well as costs associated with maintaining the website which supports the training materials, as well as CE certificate administration. Refunds, minus a $25 administrative fee, are available upon request within 15 days of purchasing/enrolling in a training. No refunds or exchanges are available once the training quiz has been opened.

Grievance Procedure

Any individual who has a complaint regarding any aspect of this training should communicate in writing to the executive director of NACSW within 30 days after having completed the training. The executive director will conduct a review and respond in writing within 30 days of receiving this complaint. For more information, contact the NACSW office at or 203-270-8780.

Request for Accommodations

Please contact NACSW at, or 203.270.8780 if you would like to request a special accommodation.


Because this is a home study training session, there is no direct contact and/or communication between the individual taking this training and the session speaker. Interactivity for this training consists of the interaction between a person registered for this training session and the materials and content offered in this session.

Contact Information

If you have questions pertaining to the content of the training (session content, outline, content level, continuing education contact hours, etc.), contact or 203.270.8780. You will receive a response within 24 hours. If you are in need of technical support, send an email to You will receive a response from the program's technical support manager within 8 hours, 7 days a week.