Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access


Survivors of interpersonal trauma face unique and pervasive challenges following repetitive emotional, physical, and sexual abuse that misuses the social contract of trust in human relationship. The impact of abuse is revealed through the vehicle of trauma, the body, seen through lasting effects such as disassociation, hypervigilance, and difficulty expressing oneself. In an abusive relationship, control is monopolized, and the survivor’s agency is diminished. To restore a survivor’s trust in their body, the relational dance form of contact improvisation is proposed as a relevant tool to be examined in dance/movement therapy. A theoretical analysis of contact improvisation principles and dance/movement therapy is outlined to safely, progressively, and contextually restore resources to survivors of trauma. Guidelines to enhance connection to oneself and to others are carefully explored to guide embodiment, repair the use of touch, and develop equitable relationships.