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

Kristy Combs




This thesis explores the development of the therapeutic relationship with a child with autism through dance/movement therapy. The characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder effect social interactions, communication, behavior and interests. This means there is difficulty engaging and maintaining reciprocal social interactions, and trouble with receptive and expressive language. The purpose of this study is to describe how movement mirroring in dance/movement therapy affects the development of the therapeutic relationship with a child with autism, through the analysis of the Ways of Seeing approach.

The data collected in this clinical case study consisted of video tapped sessions and Laban Movement Analysis transcriptions of the sessions. The child participated in five dance/movement therapy sessions over five consecutive days. A relationship was created that produced growth for both the child and the dance/movement therapy researcher. This development was described through The Ways of Seeing Technique and Method. The findings are told through a narrative of the sessions through the eyes of the researcher.