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

Jessica Young


Dance therapy, Movement therapy, Play


The purpose of this research was to explore the phenomenon of play and its integration into a dance/movement therapy (DMT) setting with adults. This research focused specifically on adults because play is often neglected during adulthood—despite the fact that play continues to be vital throughout life and has many therapeutic properties. In this phenomenological qualitative study, data was collected through interviews with dance/movement therapists, who identified themselves as using play within their clinical work. From the data, themes were identified, which revealed how dance/movement therapists integrated play into their work and what they experienced as a result of this integration. The phenomenon of play was found to be a process that supports DMT. This process facilitated change within a therapeutic setting through bringing clients to the present moment (reducing self-judgment), shifting clients’ moods in necessary directions, and organizing and disorganizing clients’ bodies.