Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy

First Advisor

Elise Risher


The culture of the professional dance environment perpetuates an ideal image of the dancer identity. In the pursuit of this ideal, dancers struggle with integrating their own personal identity, creating internal conflict that potentially underlies dance related mental health issues. Dance/movement therapy offers a different therapeutic environment that promotes self-awareness, acceptance, and trust within the body to establish a connection with a deeper sense of self. An examination of the research and documentation of the utilization of dance/movement therapy with dancers suggest it could be beneficial to the issues they face, including maintaining their own sense of identity. This discussion is important to destigmatizing mental health issues in the professional dance world and, more importantly, offers therapeutic treatment suited to the language of dancers, dance.