Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy


Dance/Movement Therapy Graduate Program


One in three women in the United States has experienced physical abuse by an intimate partner (NCADV, 2015). Nearly half of all women in the US have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner (Black, et al., 2010). Survivors of domestic violence commonly face long-term psychological damage because of the abuse, which can lead to negative social implications throughout their lifetime. Illnesses stemming from abuse include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, and can further result in low self-esteem, or being unable to trust others and build healthy social or romantic relationships (Black et al., 2010). This thesis will discuss the long-term psychological and social challenges faced by survivors of domestic violence, therapies currently offered to survivors, and how group dance/movement therapy can serve this population in their recovery. Group dance/movement therapy aids in introducing emotional regulation and coping skills through movement, and provides survivors an opportunity to build social capital and trust. This thesis also considers Bowlby’s Attachment Theory as a framework of a survivor’s ability to build and maintain healthy relationships after experiencing abuse.