Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Lee Ann Thill, PhD, ATR-BC, LPC


Individuals with reactive attachment disorder present as guarded towards therapeutic care and respond passively to treatment or become combative and aggressive. Previous body-based interventions for individuals with reactive attachment disorder included dangerous and unethical approaches that led to traumatization, distrust, and even death. Historical attachment therapies focused on making the client feel powerless and hopeless to accept care rather than practitioners adjusting to individualized client-centered care. A dance/movement therapy-informed method was developed to provide a nonthreatening therapeutic space to foster genuine participation for clients who present with reactivity towards treatment. The method was implemented over the course of seven weeks in weekly individual sessions with a female adolescent client who presented with reactivity towards therapeutic care. In response to this reactivity, sessions included activities that were familiar and non-threatening, including soccer, basketball, cornhole, volleyball, and going for walks. Body Attitude Coding Sheets and Laban Movement Analysis were used to record and assess the client’s ability to coregulate, communicate, and create through her movement patterns and action efforts. Results included changes in the participant’s pattern of action efforts as well as her use of coregulation, mirroring, and kinesthetic empathy.

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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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