Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Robyn Flaum Cruz

Second Advisor

Meenakshi Chhabra

Third Advisor

Nicole Hahna


The purpose of this study was to begin to define pedagogical theory and practice in the field of dance/movement therapy (DMT). Fourteen DMT educators from American Dance Therapy Association approved programs participated in the study, taking part in individual semi-structured interviews through a phenomenological lens. The participants had taught in the DMT field for at least five years and at most 44 years. Utilizing grounded theory methods, two focus groups were also conducted in which six DMT educators discussed initial qualitative themes from the individual interviews. Through an engaged process, participants were able to participate in the further defining of the study’s themes. Data were analyzed using grounded theory methods of initial and focused coding. The researcher also used member checking, peer review, and a personal research journal to name her own reflexive position within the emerging data.

The researcher’s findings centered around six qualitative themes. These themes named the importance of the DMT student’s development of self-awareness including body identity, cultural identity, and professional identity all housed within the experience of embodied learning. Findings also named the importance of educator transparency and modeling in the classroom to create space for student exploration. Recommendations from the study aimed towards creating more opportunities for educators to collaborate and communicate across the field with the goal of creating best practices for DMT education. Also, recommendation for DMT educators centered around clarity of expectations in the embodied self-reflective learning process.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Number of Pages





The author owns the copyright to this work.