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, self-care, interns, dance/movement, therapists, model


The purpose of this project was to create tools for self-care practices that help second year dance/movement therapy (DMT) students at Columbia College Chicago cope with possible risks encountered within clinical practice. The importance of developing effective self-care habits for practitioners in therapeutic professions is emphasized in literature, and it is encouraged that this self-care practice is developed during a student’s graduate training experience. Literature in the areas of therapists’ self-care practices, counselor development, burnout, compassion fatigue, countertransference, somatic countertransference, therapist distress, and vicarious traumatization are reviewed. A product development methodology was used, the Eight Stage-Gate Process for New Product Development, which involved the collection of external input through a survey gathering quantitative and qualitative data about respondents’ own selfcare practices. A total of 125 surveys were distributed online with a 49% response rate. Input was analyzed using statistical analysis of quantitative input and summative content analysis of qualitative input. The survey provided insight into the possible risks of being a therapist experienced by DMT student interns, how different types of self-care were prioritized, and what types of self-care were difficult to include in individual self-care practices. From this input, a booklet and website were created and made available to future students enrolling in Columbia College Chicago’s program. The website provides information about therapist self-care, resources for student interns, and information about approaching self-care holistically. The booklet provides student interns with a guided process to forming a self-care practice, including assessments and recommendations for specific activities. 119 pages.