Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
This paper advocates for the use of dance/movement therapy (DMT) as part of treatment for individuals with eating disorders, while also proposing a DMT based method of assessment to be used with clients during meal times. This assessment, based on elements of DMT movement observation techniques, works as a tool to analyze the client’s consumption behavior and level of risk, thus providing insight for treatment planning, goal setting, and themes for dance/movement therapy interventions. The proposed assessment was applied with an at-risk adolescent female during a lunch period in a school setting. The results of the assessment were then further processed and used to inform potential DMT based interventions that might help reduce thoughts and behaviors often associated with eating disorders. The assessment application and review experience highlighted the areas that were effective in evaluating risk and the nature of the participant’s eating behaviors, proving to be helpful in better understanding the participant and their relationship with food. This experience also demonstrated the areas of its limitation and need for refinement to make this assessment even more effective for a wider range of participants and clinical settings. Relevant literature on the intersection of dance/movement therapy and eating disorder populations was explored thus further asserting the need and benefits of DMT based interventions for treatment of eating disorders and informing the development of the proposed assessment. Within this literature review, a variety of topics are examined including DMT treatment interventions, studies on the effects of DMT on body image, depression, and disordered eating, and key dance/movement therapists in this field who have developed universal themes for working with this population.
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Mills, Ellery, "Movement in Meal Time: A Movement Observation Assessment for Individuals with Eating Disorders" (2022). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 615.
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