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


Bahá’í, religion, Laban Movement Analysis


The purpose of this thesis was to explore the concept of integration between two main aspects of my life: my professional career as a dance/movement therapist on an inpatient adolescent behavioral health unit, and service guided by Bahá’í teachings in a neighborhood-based setting. Literature reviewed encompassed instances of Rudolf von Laban’s Effort elements found in the Bahá’í Writings, as well as research on the integration between the mind, body and spirit, the history of religion and mental health, and the current relationship between religion and mental health. Both artistic inquiry and heuristic methodologies were used to guide my research. Through Moustakas’s method of data analysis – immersion, incubation, illumination, explication, and creative synthesis – certain themes surfaced that shed light on my personal embodied experience of integration, and its implications both in a dance/movement therapy (DMT) and religious vein. Two major themes included the role of improvisation in integration and the shift from fragmented language and movement to bodily integration found through utilization of the Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) Body category, in place of Effort. This study informs not only my own orientation towards integration, but also provides a platform from which both dance/movement therapists and any faith-based mental health practitioners can conceptualize integration and make it a more conscious part of their work.


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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.