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

Andrea K. Brown


The purpose of this research was to decipher the benefits and challenges of using a body-based therapy on male and female survivors of sexual trauma, to explore how dance/movement therapy is a therapeutic intervention that facilitates recovery within this population, and to illuminate whether gender socialization practices have an impact on how trauma is processed and emoted within the male and female bodies. The thesis provides information about common presenting problems, treatment models, and case studies for both sexes of this population. Using a loosely structured eleven count questionnaire, case studies, anecdotes, and movement observations employing Laban Movement Analysis terminology were gathered from six dance/movement therapists who worked with male and/or female survivors of sexual trauma. This data was analyzed, and emerging themes and observations were noted. To some extent, the analysis demonstrated the effectiveness of dance/movement therapy in the treatment of both sexes, the embodiment similarities between both sexes, and the continued challenges of addressing gender socialized misconceptions about sexual trauma. Future research questions and recommendations for continued research concerning this population using dance/movement therapy as a recovery method were noted.