Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Sarah Hamil


African-Centered practices are being regarded as valuable therapeutic healing methods within the African-diaspora. However, there is limited research that examines the propitious advantages and psychotherapeutic use of Afrocentric movement of two very distinctive, yet possible complementary systems, the Katherine Dunham technique and Kemetic Yoga. The research available on these African-based movement practices recognizes them as holistic and encompassing a mind/body/soul connection. Ritualistic practices in counseling remains a growing interest to mental health practitioners of all cultures, to ensure that clients are provided with an experience of client-centered psychotherapy. Therapeutic African-centered practices align with Carl Rogers’ person-centered approach and the psychotherapeutic practice of African-centered psychology, as these two procedures focus on the client achieving greater independence, an increased knowledge-of-self and “embodying a cultural identity” of their own. The goal of using African-centered practices in expressive therapy and in dance-movement therapy is to bring more awareness to its therapeutic use. Augmenting this topic, required that both movement systems be utilized interrelatedly and approached from a developmentally appropriate perspective for at-risk youth. Dunham’s Isolations, Kemetic yoga poses, and African masks were used for character development with clients ages 7-11, grades 2nd-5th, at a traditional Elementary Public-School Program. The youths’ passionate spirit and instantly recognizable involvement with the African practices applied, indicates that younger populations, specifically those affected by trauma can benefit from ritualistic based African-centered practices which endorses the need for future research, acknowledgement and application.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Arts Based Research DMT_Afrikan masks Dunham Isolations Kemetic yoga improv choreo.mp4 (34129 kB)
Demonstrating Afrikan Masks, Dunham Isolations, Kemetic Yoga, & Improvised Choreography video




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