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

Allen, Laura


dementia, patients, caregivers


This thesis is the summation and findings of a clinical case study regarding dance/movement therapy with community dwelling spouses of long term care residents who have been diagnosed with a dementia related illness. The intention of this research was to raise awareness of the underserved population of supporters, and to examine how dance/movement therapy could serve to aid in the treatment of the issues community dwelling spouses face. Due to the scarcity of the literature on the primary topic, various relevant topics were examined. Research was found proving that anxiety, depression, and stress are the most prevalent issues being faced throughout the populations of in-home and community dwelling caregivers. Yet, issues regarding identity, roles and responsibilities, guilt, and boundary ambiguity were also of importance within the literature. In order to determine the presenting issues of the clients in this particular clinical case study, a needs/assessment treatment plan was implemented, and the Relative Stress Scale was administered for pre and post test results of the six week dance/movement therapy sessions. During these sessions, the clients were afforded the opportunity to express themselves in regards to their current situations as community dwelling spouses. Universality and normalization of feelings were emphasized throughout the sessions as the clients became more open with each other and themselves. Evidence of an increase in self esteem, a positive change in attitude, the development of positive coping skills, and a physical, mental, and emotional decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety resulted from the sessions. The results of this study correlate with the findings of previous research and suggest a reason to address the needs of this population. Questions and implications for further research are discussed as a means of suggestion for how these needs might be met.