Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Vivien Marcow-Speiser


This community engagement project seeks to explore the influence of dance/movement therapy and authentic movement techniques on one’s sense of self. This project focused on these techniques as an approach toward self-actualization and finding one’s essence. This study considered the potential implications of these practices on populations whose bodily experience can be perceived as a barrier toward self-actualization, such as in eating disorders and trauma. Six expressive therapy students from Lesley University participated in two sessions of dance/movement therapy. This included: a movement-exploration warm up, authentic movement, and a visual artistic representation of their perceived essence based on the experiential. Following these sessions, participants reported experiencing embodiment, allowing permission for stillness, attunement, connection, and present awareness. They acknowledged the influence dance/movement therapy and authentic movement practices have on the sense of self and one’s essence and recognized the varying ways in which these phenomena emerge. Their insights shared that these phenomena can be understood and explored, however one’s sense of self cannot be defined nor can the essence be materialized in absolute form.

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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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