Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Elizabeth Kellogg, PhD


Adolescents are a special category in pediatric oncology because of their unique physical and mental development. This patient population has needs specific to both their development and cancer diagnosis. Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) focuses on building awareness of inner sensations so that the patient can then connect those observations with felt emotions and thoughts. Connecting the physical experience with the emotional experience can provide helpful information for the patient as a tool for change. Building and strengthening relationships with family members also strengthens the critical support system for the patient. Dance Movement Therapy interventions may be effective in working with adolescent cancer patients, by exploring my created goals of building a connection to the body; creating rituals of expression for self, family, and community; and exploring shifting identity. This treatment method focused on adolescent patients, ages 12-18, with cancer diagnoses at a children’s hospital. Three different DMT interventions were offered and implemented based on observed needs and patients' choice and control. Learnings emphasized that adolescent identity is connected to the body. These opportunities for art and movement were shown to be effective tools for expression and communication for patients and their families. These treatment methods and learnings can also be applied to other areas of mental health working with adolescents; from additional areas of medical trauma to other experiences that include trauma or life-changing events.

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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