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

Combs, Kristy


dance/movement therapy, deaf, hard of hearing, adults, mental illness, qualitative data analysis, American Sign Language, spiritual, faith, spirituality, Deaf Culture


This artistic inquiry illuminated the values, beliefs, and strengths of a small group of members of the Deaf community diagnosed with chronic mental illness, in the hopes of providing quality mental health care and bridging a gap between the hearing and Deaf worlds. The participants included five Deaf or Hard of Hearing adults with chronic mental illness attending a day mental health program. This study explored how I, as a dance/movement therapy student intern and the researcher, can embody Deaf or Hard of Hearing culture and chronic mental illness to express the strengths of the individuals as well as the mental health needs of this population. The data was collected each week from dance/movement therapy and Deaf culture groups in the form of art making, journaling, and movement. Upon completion of data collection, Forinash's qualitative data analysis method and creative synthesis were used by this researcher to create a solo movement piece that was then performed for the participants for validation. After receiving feedback from the participants, the piece was then performed live for the community. 51 pages.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.