Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


E. Kellogg


Expanding knowledge about how to self-regulate when faced with challenging circumstances has the potential to benefit individuals and communities, especially in our post-pandemic environment with increasing needs for mental health support. This thesis provides a psychoeducational basis for use of dance movement therapeutic techniques to integrate adverse childhood experiences. The literature review refines an understanding of big T and little t trauma as it relates to mental illness, polyvagal theory, nervous system regulation, the window of tolerance, body armoring, somatic psychotherapy, trauma- informed care, adverse childhood experiences and post-traumatic growth.

This thesis culminates in a personal arts-based autoethnography informed by the theoretical framework summarized by Pierce (2014) to work with individuals through a three-phase dance movement therapy practice to process trauma-related content. The author collaborates with a photographer who used the “pop and blur” technique to capture a trail of light evident in the image to illustrate the somatic energy within the movement in a static, preserved and visually intriguing manner. Future applications of this arts ethnography will benefit therapists, educators and anyone who desires to process adverse childhood experiences.

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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