Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Sarah Hamil


Part of the lived experience of being an African American mother means experiencing racism throughout life making one more vulnerable to developing postpartum depression and experiencing mental health problems in general. This review examines postpartum depression in African American women from an intersectional and embodied lens and considers the intergenerational impact that racism has on the mental health of African American mothers and children. Conventional options for treating postpartum depression in the mother-child dyad did not include a cultural lens and few studies explicitly considered race and culture or interventions which were culturally affirming. Dance Movement Therapy is uniquely positioned to address depression, identity, and culture in the African American mother-child dyad by engaging in the culturally affirming therapeutic practice of dance. Based on an African Diaspora view of ritualistic healing, dance has the potential to interact within the African American mother-child dyad to address the specific needs of these intersecting identities, provide relief from depression, and create a collective space for African American mothers to share in and embrace the challenges and beauty of motherhood.

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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