Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Elise Risher


Trauma is concomitant with a lack of safety; as such, where there is a threat to safety, there is likely to be trauma. Afrodescendants living in the United States, through an ongoing lack of human regard, are often powerless to ensure their safety, and are regularly subjected to continuous, race-based trauma. Racism is deeply embedded in the nation’s institutions as well as in every relationship, and this deeply pervasive and penetrating ideology influences strongly how individuals of any race interact with others. Race-based aggression, from micro- to macro-, has a profound and continuously traumatizing effect on Afrodescendants, with similarly profound effect on how they move through the world. Trauma-informed dance/movement therapy can provide a framework for a corrective relational experience, in which safety can be created and experienced and in which co-regulation, empathy, and recognition abound. While there is no post-traumatic environment within which Afrodescendants can effect the healing process, dance/movement therapy offers opportunities to manage overwhelming levels of stress while providing access to the positive regard, support and esteem often denied in daily life in America.