Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Donna Owens


Short-term psychiatric hospitalization is a challenging health care model due to its short duration of care, treating the highest risk psychiatric population. Priority care within a short-term psychiatric hospitalization involves monitoring a patient’s safety for stabilization by decreasing acute mental health symptoms. Holistic psychotherapy treatment options are needed to meet the severity of patients’ symptoms for effective stabilization within a short-term model of care. This paper investigates the first implementation of a dance/movement therapy (DMT) method within two short-term units in a notable Boston hospital. The DMT group called Mindful Movement was facilitated weekly as single sessions to adults ranging from ages 19-67 with severe symptoms of suicidality and self-harm, depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and anxiety. This paper considers four of those single session groups. This method incorporates theories of DMT practice, mindfulness, and tai chi as the theoretical foundation to the DMT framework. The literature will review the hospital setting, population’s diagnoses and symptoms, and articulate the relevancy of these theories for a holistic approach to treating this population’s acute needs. The method section will outline the DMT group framework in detail with treatment objectives, and goals including my process of developing this group. Mindful Movement was observed to reduce patient anxiety and depressive mood symptoms by relaxing patients mentally and physically. Patients were able to identify a physical connection to their mental health symptoms. This thesis offers a unique DMT approach that is suitable for short term inpatient care. It is my hope to inspire further research of expanding DMT with this patient population.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




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