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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

MS in Dance/Movement Therapy

First Advisor

Elise Risher

Second Advisor

Susan Orkand


Police violence is a public health crisis that disproportionately affects historically marginalized communities with far-reaching effects on the mental health of its survivors, their loved ones and wider communities. This thesis argues that abolishing the police would be therapeutic to American society and that dance/movement therapists have a unique skill set to offer a world without police. Data and literature on police brutality, training, and bias are analyzed. Literature on the mental health impacts of police and relevant dance/movement therapy literature are reviewed. The values and practice of the abolition movement are compared to those of dance/movement therapy. Examples of dance/movement therapy’s potential role in abolition of the police are explored on the systemic, interpersonal and personal levels. The author suggests that by engaging in practices on personal, interpersonal and systemic levels that facilitate the abolition of police, dance/movement therapists can provide lasting and self-sustaining therapeutic benefits for themselves and the many populations that they serve.