Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Rebecca Zarate


Dementia is a neurocognitive disorder that affects many older adults. As it progresses, people slowly lose their verbal communication abilities. There is no known cure for dementia, and current treatments often fail to address the emotional and relational needs of the individual. This study builds on existing research by looking at how dance/movement therapy (DMT) may be an effective method for increasing nonverbal communication among the population living with dementia. DMT is a psychotherapy that prioritizes nonverbal modes of communication. DMT harnesses the power of movement and dance in relationship with clients. Two DMT sessions were conducted at an assisted living facility in the Boston metro area with 13 individuals diagnosed with various forms of dementia. A phenomenological analysis was conducted to analyze results from the researcher’s reflection journaling. Three key themes emerged from the data as being the most effective techniques employed by dance/movement therapists with this population: spatial proximity, verbal validation, and physical validation.

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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