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

Imus, Susan

Second Advisor

Downey, Laura

Third Advisor

Gilmore, Kyla


dance/movement therapy, spirituality, Laban, psychology, psychotherapy, Buddhist, neuroscience, therapy


This research study investigated the use of movement improvisation to create dance/movement therapy based interventions around the Buddhist concept of impermanence, or natural endings in life. As the sole-researcher and participant were identical, the purpose of this research was to investigate how change can be facilitated, focusing on the researcher’s personal experience to then apply as an emerging dance/movement therapist. The research was conducted through an artistic inquiry, which used arts-based methods as means of data collection, data analysis, and presentation of findings. Through improvisation, the researcher embodied impermanence as it related to concepts of holding on and letting go, specifically—stability and mobility, rigidity and chaos, and tension and release. Data was collected via video-recording of the researcher’s improvisation sessions, culminating in select DMT interventions, as well as by personal journal entries. The DMT interventions’ movements were coded through a Movement Assessment Coding Sheet (MACS). All forms of data were analyzed using Ogden’s (2006) Sensorimotor Psychotherapy five core organizers and Riessman’s (2008) Narrative Analysis, providing thematic patterns and chronicled relationships. 82 pages.