Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy

First Advisor

Elise Risher


Wellness, as it is currently defined in late capitalism, is a luxury good for the ruling class. Capitalism and the commodification of wellness go largely unaddressed in current dance/movement therapy research. In the United States, dance/movement therapists operate within the for-profit healthcare system. The United States is the only industrialized democracy in the world without a national health insurance program. Despite the access to state licensure for the past 20 years, dance/movement therapists still have no guarantee that health insurance companies will pay for their services. Concurrently, there has been a surgency of self-proclaimed wellness coaches. These “experts” claim that through one class, meeting, or session they can help you change your life and help you manifest your desires and goals. These classes look and sound shockingly like therapy while making far grander promises of actualization. Therapists yielding to the pressure of conforming to western culture’s preoccupation with immediate fulfilment will ultimately undermine the genuine potential for wellbeing that therapy can offer. There is a critical issue with the notion that wellbeing is something a therapist can sell. Desire for quick-fix wellness can lead to people seeking therapy as magical solution and to therapists claiming they can offer immediate and desirable results. When dance/movement therapists begin viewing clients as a consumer of a “product” they have lost the therapeutic nature of the work.