Creative Arts Therapies Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Art in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling (MA)


Creative Arts Therapies

First Advisor

Susan Imus

Second Advisor

Laura Downey

Third Advisor

Jessica Young


dance movement therapy, heuristic inquiry, self-care, spirituality, meditation, Laban, Moustakas


This heuristic inquiry explored effective self-care practices, specifically engaging with spirituality, for emerging dance/movement therapists. Guided by a pragmatic paradigm and heuristic methodology, I was the only researcher and participant and I engaged in meditation within nature as a spiritual practice. Data collection methods included completing a semi-structured self-interview after each spiritual practice, creating embodied experiences of spirituality as self-care and filming them, and recording themes from this footage in relation to Laban’s body, effort, shape, and space categories (Moore, 2014). Moustakas’ (1990) data analysis method and creative synthesis were used. Findings revealed that engaging in spiritual self-care fostered increased internal and external awareness, as well as heightened senses. It also contributed to positive physical, mental, and emotional changes, as well as promoting a spiritual relationship between myself and my higher power. Implications from these findings revealed that engaging with spirituality may promote authentic presence and increased self-awareness; facilitate positive physical, mental, and emotional changes; offer personal meaning-making; and nurture relationship with one’s higher power. 95 pages.