Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy

First Advisor

Elise Risher

Second Advisor

Susan Orkand


Culture is in the everyday. It is embodied in the way people walk, sit, stand, eat, wash, breathe, and otherwise comport their bodies as they go through daily life (Cohen & Leung, 2009). Culture is multifaceted and embedded and embodied within identity. Ignoring emotions and body signals is detrimental to mental and physical health. It is possible for an individual to have a sense of belonging in two cultures without compromising their sense of cultural identity (Kim, 2002). Biculturalism allows culture to be a choice rather than something that requires purging old practices and beliefs from the self for individuals to survive (Kim, 2002).

Verheggen and Voestermans (2013) offered that integration of another’s culture is achieved by embodied engagement rather than by mere instruction. However, there are limitations that need to be addressed such as inherent biases. Not attending to subconscious and inherent biases, endangers the ability to have empathy, and to be in authentic relationship with others, and has implications for the dance/movement therapist’s multicultural competency in dance/movement therapy as well.

This thesis explores the embodied experience of being bi-cultural and how that experience could inform the practice of DMT to better meet the possible needs of bi-cultural clients.