Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Wendy Allen


Dance movement therapy has been utilized as an evidenced-based modality in treating numerous medical diagnoses. Despite its established efficacy in diverse medical contexts, little research exists on its application for vasovagal syncope, a condition often intertwined with mental health challenges. Although vasovagal syncope is situated in the body and frequently comorbid with mental health struggles that impact physiological symptoms, treatment options remain solely in the medical model. This literature review seeks to address this lack of research and adequate treatment options by highlighting the body/mind connection and advocating for dance/movement therapy as a potential supplementary treatment for vasovagal syncope. The author used personal experience with this diagnosis as well as Lesley @ll search and Google Scholar to gather research. The research explored is summarized through a description of the diagnosis, the physical and psychological impact, current treatment options, the use of dance/movement therapy with other medical and psychological diagnoses, and polyvagal-informed dance/movement therapy. The therapeutic qualities that emerged from the literature as important to treatment are therapeutic presence, embodied awareness, interoception, resilience, coping, empowerment, self-efficacy, and identity. It was concluded that dance movement therapy has the unique potential to support the body and mind of those struggling with vasovagal syncope supplementary to medical care. However, further research is needed to test this hypothesis.

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




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