Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy

First Advisor

Elise Risher


This thesis explores the impact of the word dance on people’s idea of what dance/movement therapy is. Dance/movement therapy was created by dancers who realized that dance had the ability to be therapeutic. In the 1940s in the United States, when dance/movement therapy was established, dance was not what it is today. Dance has expanded and is now seen in competitions, television/movies, and social media, which places a strong emphasis on the validation from others. The author aims to look at this shift in dance and how ideas present within dance do not align with the focus of dance/movement therapy. Through an exploration of personal experience, the history of dance and dance/movement therapy, and professional identity, the author looks to examine how dance fits into their own practice of dance/movement therapy.