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

Kyla Gilmore


Dance therapy, Movement therapy, Psychic truama -- Treatment


This research seeks to gain a greater understanding of the first-hand, lived experience of vicarious trauma for providers who have worked with individuals experiencing trauma. Through the application of phenomenological and participatory action methodologies, the experience of vicarious trauma is illuminated. Narrative exchanges between the co-researchers–the author and eleven providers–further explore the roles of the body and narrative process within this phenomenon. A conceptual evolution of vicarious trauma is presented, along with literature connecting the body and narrative within the trauma field. Data includes co-researcher’s recorded and transcribed interviews, vicarious trauma narratives, and written feedback. Embodied writing selections conducted by the author serve as an additional form of data, capturing the nuanced, embodied data within the narrative process. Using narrative analysis, the major verbal and non-verbal themes of vicarious trauma are identified for the co-researchers involved in this study. Findings offer directions for future research into the phenomenon of vicarious trauma, as well as future suggestions for the development and application of body-based and dance/movement therapy techniques to address the impacts of vicarious trauma for providers working with the trauma field.