Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Lee Ann Thill, PhD, LPC, ATR-BC


Self-regulation is one of the main factors to contribute to successful social-emotional development during early childhood. Healthy attachment patterns between the parent/caregiver and child relationship, as well as safe and supportive environments in school contribute to children’s abilities to develop and learn to use self-regulating skills. This literature review explores the relationship dance/movement therapy has with the enhancement of parent-child relationships during early childhood, which is potentially contributing to the development of early childhood self-regulation. Using a citation chasing method, and research in online databases, inclusion criteria for resources consisted of peer reviewed quantitative, qualitative, arts-based, and mixed methods research studies. Effects of self-regulation skills and the predictability for later life successes were examined to determine how these skills prepare children for current and future challenges. Differences in culture and environment were researched to compare how the development of self-regulation is understood across different lenses, as well as evaluating different dance/movement therapy techniques to analyze the benefits they pose on children’s ability to self-regulate. Findings suggested that dance/movement therapy and parent-child dance/movement therapy support the development of self-regulating techniques during early childhood. This literature review will contribute to the field of dance/movement therapy by allowing other professionals in the field to further explore how through dance/movement therapy, children and their caregivers can benefit by developing self-regulating skills that will allow the child to succeed in individual and group settings.

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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