Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Donna Owens


Dance/movement therapy is a popular method utilized with the autism spectrum population due to its focus on increasing social skills, developing relationships, improving function, increasing positive body image, and expanding movement repertoire. The literature indicated that mirroring is the most common and most utilized DMT intervention for this population, but it provided minimal alternative dance/movement therapy interventions. The dance/movement therapy method implemented through this research attempted to provide an alternative to mirroring through the creation of a body outline. This method was developed through the theoretical framework of relational-cultural theory, emphasizing the impact that relationships can have on the shaping of one’s identity and self-concept. The method took place over the course of five sessions and targeted: (a) increasing self-awareness around physical sensations, and where they are experienced in the body; (b) increasing self-awareness around emotions and where those are felt in the body; (c) increasing self-awareness around other people’s perceptions; and (d) increasing self-awareness around how one functions within a group and the role that one typically assumes. The results indicated that the participants gained a better understanding of the different elements of self-awareness through the embodiment of the elements that were incorporated into their body outline.

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