Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Vivien Marcow Speiser


Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a form of sexual assault that affects a large percentage of the world population. Whether the abuse occurs once or chronically across a period of time, sexual trauma caused by CSA can contribute to severe post-traumatic symptoms throughout the lifespan. These symptoms can affect an individual’s mental health and relationship to their body. Because sexual abuse directly violates an individual’s body, it is important for practitioners to find creative ways to treat its lingering effects. Many researchers have turned to body-based interventions, such as dance/movement therapy (DMT), to explore the treatment of trauma symptoms in survivors of sexual abuse. DMT is a form of psychotherapy that involves the use of dance and movement to establish a sense of safety and trust in order to facilitate awareness of self, build interpersonal connection, reintegrate mind and body, and expand range of motion and self-expression. In recent years, research on DMT has shown that it can be used successfully to treat survivors of CSA because DMT can address nonverbal manifestations of trauma that take place on a body level. This literature review examines the use of DMT with CSA survivors and its positive outcomes while also acknowledging the many gaps that exist in current research, such as a lack of gender inclusion, clear demographics, and limited empirical evidence to support DMT.

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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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