Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy


Dance/Movement Therapy Graduate Program


In this thesis project, the author proposes a framework of empathic communication in Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) practice. Based on Franz de Waal’s Russian doll model of empathy, the author explores three traditional phenomena in DMT practice that cultivate empathy and intersubjectivity: Primitive Mirroring; Shared Intention; and Movement Understanding. In each topic, the author extends the investigation into different areas of study in order to illuminate the profound connectedness of human empathic communication. The term Reciprocal Waves highlights the back and forth relationship-building process that occurs daily in dance/movement therapy practice. It is a framework derived from DMT practice that can be applied to all fields that would benefit from promoting empathic human relationships.