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

Combs, Kristy


dance/movement therapy, qualitative, cultural therapy, domestic violence, survivors, authentic connection.


This qualitative case study explored the integration of relational-cultural therapy and dance/movement therapy (DMT), or relational-DMT, with survivors of domestic violence. The study examined how participants experience relational-DMT and the therapeutic relationship we established together. Three culturally diverse participants receiving individual short-term counseling services at a domestic violence service agency were included in the study. Three forms of data were collected over six to eight therapy sessions. Following each session, the participants completed the Helpful Aspects of Therapy questionnaire, while the researcher completed embodied case documentation (Fogel, 2007). After the final therapy session, a semi-structured interview was conducted with each participant to explore themes emerging from the data. Data were analyzed within-case and across-cases using Forinash’s (2004) qualitative data analysis method. Data illustrated how these embodied therapeutic relationships became places of feeling deeply understood, where movement brought participants into vulnerable material in a manner that felt safe and which facilitated trust. In this way, movement experiences played a significant role in the development of these growth-fostering relationships by providing an inroad to authentic connection. 138 pages.