Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Wendy Allen



The mental health field has started to pay attention to how trauma plays into a person’s overall mental and physical well-being. Because of this more research has shown the connection between mind and body. Yet the clinical implications and literature on theories of how to treat trauma and trauma related disorders do not always connect. This review of literature seeks to analyze the literature on Porges’, Polyvagal Theory and Amighi’s, Kestenberg Movement Profiles. An investigation of the current literature makes a connection between the phylogenetic order of both the nervous system and developmental movement. Considerations of how trauma, in particular childhood trauma, can impact the development of the internal systems and the overall individual experience with the world are noted. Both internal and external body rhythms such as the heart, breathing, and movement coping skills will be explored.

Keywords: trauma, mind-body connection, Polyvagal Theory, Kestenberg Movement Profiles, developmental movement, window of tolerance

Author Identity Statement: The author identifies as a white cis-gender female from New England of mixed European Ancestry.




The author owns the copyright to this work.