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

Allen, Laura


dance/movement therapy, Latin America, United States, children, reception center, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, Illinois, Office of Refugee Resettlement, US Department of Health and Human Services, unaccompanied.


The purpose of this study was to explore ways in which a group of unaccompanied children (UC) from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Brazil embodied resilience during their stay at a temporary reception center in the United States. The center was located in Illinois and received funding from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 12-week clinical case study included a total of 19 male participants aged 12 to 17 years old attending dance/movement therapy sessions, which were scheduled weekly. Group progress notes and individual movement assessment coding sheets were completed and analyzed. A strengths-based lens was utilized to identify and understand resilience-related patterns and processes in participants. Conclusions include identification of participants’ individual and collective embodied resilience and the role of dance/movement therapy in fostering collective embodied resilience through rhythmic group activity. The author identified bound flow and enclosing shaping qualities among participants’ ways of coping with and adjusting to the immigration detention environment. 70 pages.