Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Ara Parker


The purpose of this capstone thesis is to examine how the use of dance movement therapy (DMT) can be a beneficial intervention for relationship building when working with older adults with dementia. Studies have shown that dementia is a state where body and mind are in distress (Hill, 2009; Karkou & Meekums, 2017). Therefore, caring and understanding of dementia treatment is vital for maintaining relationships and developing new ones. Person-centered care (PCC) has been used in this thesis as a theoretical psychological framework to support relationship building with elders with dementia. Karkou and Meekums (2017) suggested that due to the condition of dementia, people are experiencing a decline in verbal memory and abstract thinking, therefore is a need to offer an effective therapeutic intervention which is non-verbal and body-oriented, such as DMT. Accordingly, the therapeutic movement relationship (TMR) and Marian Chace’s DMT-based framework was used to address, support, and connect between the benefits DMT, PCC and TMR have to the person with dementia. By presenting different interventions of DMT, this thesis is hoping to address how and why those tools are essential for working with older adults with dementia. In addition, the importance of involving care staff and family members in the process of relationship-building was addressed.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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