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

Bell, Aisha


dance/movement therapy, Cultural competence, cultural difference, group therapy, dance/movement therapy


Utilizing transcendental phenomenology, this study sought to better understand dance/movement therapists’ experiences of the culture bump phenomenon in the group therapy setting. Culture bumps are defined as moments in which two or more people enter a situation with different culturally-based expectations about customs, behavior, beliefs, communication styles, and other norms (Archer & Nickson, 2012). Data were collected using individual inperson semi-structured interviews with five Chicagoland dance/movement therapists who self identified as having experienced the phenomenon of the culture bump while in the group therapy setting. Data analysis was completed using Moustakas’ (1994) adaptation of the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method and resulted in five textural-structural themes that describe the experience of the phenomenon of the culture bump: a) elusory and complex in nature, b) at its essence, about a meeting of differing expectations, c) having a shifting/changing quality to it, d) inextricably tied to the participant’s own cultural context, and e) therapeutically important material. The participants’ experiences indicated culture bumps are a common occurrence in the group dance/movement therapy setting, and both their presence and the processing of them are breeding grounds for necessary conversations about cultural difference. 54 pages - submitted as an article to the American Journal of Dance Therapy in February of 2018 in a format that meets the criteria for that publication, and so is shorter than a standard thesis.