Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
Donna C. Owens
Dissociative symptoms show in many different types of diagnoses, and dance/movement therapists have the skill set to introduce embodiment as a distress tolerance and regulatory skill. The current literature regarding effective dance/movement therapy as a tool for working with dissociative symptoms does not include the intersection of those that hold a queer identity. Inclusion of dissociative symptoms with trans* (any person who is not cisgender) identity allows for empowerment of recovery. The discussed development of a method is designed to contribute to the strengths and limitations dance/movement therapy holds in relation to dissociative symptoms, specifically working within the window of tolerance trauma model and with trans* individuals where the intersection of dissociation can be aligned with gender dysphoria. This method was implemented with queer adults at a partial hospitalization program, and it was observed that the intervention of active embodiment in the relationship to regulating dissociative symptoms led to activation in itself. Individual validation and specific mention of systemic discrimination in regard to trans* people’s lived experience with dissociation was also observed. Future research should examine a more specific practice of embodiment that focus around the queer identity as empowerment and expression. Dance/movement therapists should continue to explore how the integration of dance/movement therapy tools for regulation of dissociative symptoms can be best applied to trans* clients.
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Wilmanns, Erin, "DMT and Dissociation: Opening the Window of Tolerance to Embodiment; Development of a Method" (2021). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 464.
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