Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Michelle Napoli


Using the Community Engagement option, this Capstone Thesis was used to create a method to explore a culturally informed approach to coping with the manifestation of Super Woman Schema in Black Women with trauma exposure. In this thesis the researcher discusses Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS) in as it relates to the formation of maladaptive techniques such as Super Woman Schema. Additionally, this Capstone Thesis provides a historical context on the cultural significance of Rhythm and Blues music and Dance/Movement Therapy and ties it to the importance of healing for the community at-large. This researcher utilized self as instrument to explore their own relationship with the symptoms of Super Woman Schema, while utilizing the culturally significant forms of improvisational dance and Rhythm and Blues (RnB) music to assist with managing the symptoms of said relationship. The objective was to create an intentional space, “a sensual sanctuary” to encourage the awareness and expression of emotions for the Black Woman whom has, due to their post-slavery identity, experienced complex trauma. The results highlight the importance of reconnecting, mourning the loss of, and celebrating the ancestry of the African Diaspora. As a result, the title of this thesis respectively highlights the method’s focus on utilizing the community, expressing vulnerability, and actively exploring a relationship with one’s emotions as a strength as a rehumanizing experience.

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