Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Jena Leake


This thesis aimed to explore how implementing dance/movement therapy can empower effective changes in healthcare systems to benefit patients in eating disorder treatment. While other expressive therapy treatments were utilized, dance/movement therapy treatment was met with resistance because the key elements of moving the body could bolster excessive and compulsive exercise as a secondary eating disorder behavior. A Dance Break intervention worked as a therapeutic method of inquiry to investigate how moving the body could support patients in rediscovering their identities without reinforcing eating disorder behaviors. Data was collected through movement observation analysis, arts-based exploration, and verbal discussion. The results appeared to support a heightened self-awareness and stimulated bodily sensations. There is an opportunity for further research on how a Dance Break intervention may be applied to different socio-cultural populations, and how its flexible and adaptable quality could be included in healthcare systems across the United States.

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