Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Donna C Owens


Trauma is the psychological and physiological response to environmental triggers as a protective measure. Adolescents with trauma histories or trauma symptoms are introduced to new environments as they grow and mature into adulthood; however, without the appropriate skills or understanding, these maturing youth cannot appropriately adapt to new environments or communities without the activation of the autonomic nervous system and its protective behaviors (fight, flight, freeze, or fawn). Dance/movement therapy and sports-based therapies are two body-based modalities that utilize movement to engage youth in the therapeutic process and to treat trauma symptoms. This literature review explores the ways in which dance/movement therapy and sports-based therapies can inform the research and practice of one another as well as exploring how the two modalities intersect. The search for literature regarding dance/movement therapy, sports-based therapies, trauma, and adolescents was conducted online via the search engines Google Scholar and Lesley Library Online. After an initial search for modality-specific research, more research was conducted in the same fashion regarding neuroscience, polyvagal theory, and neurobiology. Overall, the literature for dance/movement therapy proved to center around the creative movement process and internal reflection whereas the sports-based therapies literature centered around goal-oriented team-centered engagement. Recommendations are made for future research for each modality as they pertain to the application of adolescents with trauma or trauma histories.

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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