Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Theresa Benson


An eight-week curriculum developed by this researcher was implemented with a group of women in the Spring of 2018. The goal was to provide evidence, create resources, and demonstrate the effectiveness of Expressive Art Therapy and Dance Movement Therapy as an embodied practice to create connection, promote self-expression, empathy, embodied awareness, and healthy coping skills so that embodied childbirth seems obtainable and do-able. The shift away from embodied wisdom has moved women away from embracing their bodies and created risk in childbirth. In the United States of America, the maternal mortality rate is on the rise, which is unusual for developed countries. One way of providing preventative care and proactively addressing the issues of current birthing culture is to promote and normalize embodiment for birthing mothers.

This review of literature and development of a method can be utilized within the perinatal period to promote a better understanding of maternal mental health including childbirth education and history, theories of embodiment, and mindfulness techniques to further develop self-awareness and a deeper sense of identity and self for the birthing mother. Embodiment seems missing from our current birthing culture and that implementing a method to incorporate embodiment practices, as well as partaking in standard medical care with access to screening for perinatal emotional issues, could greatly impact maternal mental health.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License




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