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


Dance therapy, Human trafficking -- Kolkata (India), Movement therapy


What are the lived experiences of self-care for human trafficking survivors in Kolkata, India who are working with other survivors? Within the human rights organization, Kolkata Sanved, survivors of human trafficking are implementing dance/movement therapy (DMT) based techniques to empower other survivors. These survivor-trainers are currently fulfilling the dual role of survivor and provider. Six women between the ages of 22 and 28 participated in this transcendental phenomenological study. Semi-structured interviews were the primary mode of data collection. Artistic methods were also included to engage participants in movement to further reflect on their experiences of self-care. To analyze the interviews, Moustakas’ (1994) modification of the van Kaam method of analysis of phenomenological data was implemented.

Findings revealed common self-care practices among the participants which contributed to their stability. Themes of this self-care experience included self-reflecting, engaging in the creative process, demonstrating autonomy, finding connection through movement, using movement for emotional awareness and release, sharing within relationships, balancing life roles through dignity, working in Kolkata Sanved, and valuing the interview process. The discussion included how these self-care practices helped to minimize the participants’ re-traumatization when working with other survivors, in addition to how DMT influenced their self-care. Implications of this study were illuminated regarding current dialogues on scope of practice within the DMT field. This study suggested the use of DMT and body-based practices for selfcare within community-based organizations employing peer-provider models.