Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy


Dance/Movement Therapy Graduate Program


Witnessing is a crucial, defining mechanism of dance/movement therapy that demands physical awareness, emotional recognition, and verbalization with humble honesty. Although witnessing has the potential to arise in nearly all encounters, as dance/movement therapists work directly with multifaceted and complex individuals, there has been a lack of delineating the various elements required to accomplish this task. This thesis is an attempt to begin outlining of the process and elements of witnessing. Beginning with the history of witnessing and its unique features within the field of dance/movement therapy, the author provides the essential qualities to consider in order to witness another individual. Because the process of witnessing has grown since its inception in the field through Authentic Movement, and the avenues to foster characteristics within oneself is a subjective process, the personal experiences of the author are provided and analyzed to shed light on possible avenues for growth. From these explorations, four themes of developing as a witness in dance/movement therapy emerged: awareness; continual self-discovery; subjectivity; bodily involvement.