Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Monica W. Tracey


Through Arts-based Research, constructed within the theoretical basis of the Activity System, participants engaged with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) program content to develop a cohesive and meaningful project. Participants are conceptualized as reliable experts in their own experience, and as active agents of knowledge construction. Participants generate profound and relevant insights into their experiences – insights that can enhance DBT practice, expand research methodology, and build conceptual connections across theories. The Arts-based Activity System offers a theoretically-backed methodology that can disrupt the harmful parallels between the development of the disorders DBT is intended to treat and the dominant research paradigm into DBT. In this paradigm shift, participants are regarded as empowered to construct their wellness by leveraging the tools and settings of DBT, rather than as passive objects of research and recipients of care. Additionally, this study constructs an argument for the use of Arts-Based Activity Theory as a research methodology to investigate social knowledge construction in communities whose knowledge construction may be otherwise be unavailable to researchers. Finally, this study builds a conceptual connection between the Reflective Practitioner Theory and Activity Theory by contextualizing participant reflections as parts of an Activity System.