Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Donna Owens


This literature review focuses on dance/movement therapy and other creative arts interventions that will help the incarcerated during and after incarceration. The incarcerated do not receive the help they need to successfully reintegrate into society, leading to increased recidivism rates. This population is often stigmatized as subhuman, and it is important for them to build self-worth and develop appropriate coping skills to better themselves. Creative arts programs display promising results, for they allow the incarcerated a break in their routine and an opportunity for creativity. Studies show that art and music therapy can help the incarcerated with emotional regulation, self-expression, and depression. Dance/movement therapy is effective for this population based on its core principles of kinesthetic empathy, nonverbal communication, and validation. However, evidence for these programs is scarce because not enough research studies display consistent results through mixed methodologies. Arts-based research conveys the best results for this population by encouraging the researchers to collaborate with the incarcerated. The incarcerated want to share their stories to empower themselves and others, and this is most successful when they have an outlet to take control. Future research should concentrate on arts-based research with dance/movement therapy as the primary artistic intervention.

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




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