Date of Award

12-2017

Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy

Department

Dance/Movement Therapy Graduate Program

Abstract

Up to 75% of transgender people will present for psychotherapy at some point in their lives (Benson, 2013), yet many clinicians, including dance/movement therapists, lack the cultural competency to ethically treat these clients. There is lack of educational resources specifically directed toward dance/movement therapists, hindering the progress of diversifying the field as well as educating more culturally competent therapists during graduate level training. This thesis acts as a primer for the dance/movement therapist seeking to begin a journey toward working with the transgender community. This thesis reports statistics of discrimination and mental illness, informs clinicians on terminology to use, discusses the clinical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, discusses medical models of treatment, and suggests practical steps for an agency or private practice to take. Finally, a discussion of how dance/movement therapy could effectively be used with the transgender community seeks to encourage dance/movement therapists to think beyond the binary, examine individual issues of bias and privilege, and calls for the field as a whole to increase awareness of the transgender population.

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