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

Laura Allen


artistic inquiry, self-study, freeze response


The purpose of this artistic inquiry self-study was to engage in an embodied, in-depth process of exploration regarding how I engage in clinical decision-making. My research question was: “how do I, as an emerging dance/movement therapist, approach the clinical decision-making process?” Data was recorded through written journaling and video recorded improvisational movement. Journaling and movement were elicited through the visualization of a moment in a dance/movement therapy session in which I was caught off guard and needed to make a clinical decision. Such moments provoked anxiety and a freeze response that interfered with effective clinical intervention. Data was analyzed through dialogue with a research consultant, and through creative synthesis, resulting in a choreographic piece. Findings indicate that my freeze response to clinical decision making was a two-cycle process. Findings indicated that this freeze response happened when a supervisor was observing, or a client brought up intense material and my inner-critic interfered with intervention. The cycles were identified as follows: Cycle A: 1. Exploration, 2. Fear and self-doubt, 3. Perceived or imagined disapproval, 4. Shedding, 5. Resentment, 6. Distancing and grounding and Cycle B: 1. Autopilot, 2. Anger and rebellion, 3. Shedding/dissociation/loss of identity/perceived approval. The use of autonomy and inner-wisdom, hope, and self-regulation were themes generated that interfered with the cycle and generated more positive feeling states. Future research on exploring autonomy, hope, and self-regulation in relation to clinical decision making and intervention may help to manage clinician anxiety. It is my hope that these insights will positively influence my effectiveness as a clinician and allow my future clients to experience safety and trust in having a self-regulated and decisive clinician. 65 pages.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.