Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Annette Whitehead-Pleaux


Numerous studies have illustrated how psychological distress related to the Holocaust is present in children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. This transmission of trauma, referred to as transgenerational trauma, has subsequently resulted in the occurrence of challenging psychosocial symptoms within these descendants. While there is growing evidence of a biological transmission of trauma, there is a lack of treatment for this population on a body level. This paper examines how dance/movement therapy could be utilized in the process of healing from transgenerational trauma by addressing trauma held within the body, as well as the resulting problematic symptoms, including lacking a sense of self, difficulty in expressing and regulating emotions and a higher vulnerability to psychological distress, secondary traumatization or post traumatic stress disorder. Through a synthesis of current literature around the exact content that has been transmitted and the process of trauma transmission, along with an examination of how dance/movement therapy has been utilized in working with the challenging symptoms of transgenerational trauma, this analysis has found that dance movement therapy has a history of success in treating trauma and these specific problematic symptoms with other populations and therefore could potentially be effective with descendants of Holocaust survivors. Further research is recommended to document the usefulness of dance/movement therapy with this population in order to confirm its efficacy.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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