Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Rebecca Zarate


Every year in the United States, millions of children experience the death of a parent (Owens 2008; Stikkelbroek, Prinzie, de Graaf, ten Have, and Cuijpers 2012). Parental death in childhood can lead to severe impairments in physical and mental health, as well as overall life satisfaction, because of the potential traumatic nature of the event (Li, Vestergaard, Cnattingius, Gissler, Bech, Obel, & Olsen, 2014; Marks, Jun, & Song, 2007; Perkins & Harris 1990). Children have previously been neglected in regards to grief theory and the traumatic experience such loss impacts children. Recently, research has demonstrated that self-regulation is instrumental in the specific trauma work required for this population. Dance/movement therapy supports the development of self-regulation, especially with children, due to its non-verbal, body-based nature (Betty 2013; Philpott 2013; Seoane 2016). This study explored the impact of a movement based group warm-up utilizing self-applied touch and rhythm techniques in a bereavement peer support group with children ages 5-7. The study was limited in that it was used for two sessions, and in those two sessions, the movement warm-up was observed to succeed in its impact on establishing group cohesion and increasing self-regulation. Future research is recommended to explore the possibilities of this method.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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