1st Edition

Dance/Movement Therapy for Trauma Survivors Theoretical, Clinical, and Cultural Perspectives

    324 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    324 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers a timely, detailed, and comprehensive synopsis of dance/movement therapy (DMT) in the treatment of psychological trauma.

    Along with the foundational concepts of DMT, tied to traditional trauma theory and a neurobiological framework, contributions contain rich clinical examples that illustrate the use of dance, creative movement, and body awareness with a wide variety of populations including survivors of sex trafficking, military veterans, refugees, those with multigenerational trauma, and others. Chapters emphasize the underlying influences of power, privilege, and oppression on trauma, prompting practitioners to consider and understand the dynamics of sociocultural contexts and engage in continuous self-reflection.

    Featuring multiple perspectives, as well as cultural and contextual considerations, this book provides direct takeaways for clinicians and professionals and concludes with a roadmap for the trajectory of trauma-informed, healing-centered DMT.


    Foreword by Craig Haen



    Section 1: Foundational Concepts in Dance/Movement Therapy and Psychological Trauma

    1. Theoretical Underpinnings of Dance/Movement Therapy in the Treatment of Psychological Trauma

    Amber Elizabeth Gray and Ashley Fargnoli

    2. Embodied Conversations: Culturally and Trauma-Informed Healing Practices in Dance/Movement Therapy

    María Rivera, Charné Furcron, and Nancy Beardall

    3. Neurobiological Considerations in the Treatment of Trauma from a Dance/Movement Therapy Perspective

    Rebecca Barnstaple and Rebekka Dieterich-Hartwell

    4. Bridging the Chasm and Calming the Storm: The Relational Perspective on Dance/Movement Therapy for Trauma

    Marianne Eberhard-Kaechele and Andrea Goll-Kopka

    Section 2: Clinical Applications with Various Populations

    5. Body, Brain, and Relationship: Dance/Movement Therapy with Children with Complex Trauma

    Christina Devereaux and Lauren Harrison

    6. Trauma, Oppression, and Dance/Movement Therapy with Adolescents: An Inside out Approach for the Counselor/Therapist

    Carla Sherrell and Wendy Allen

    7. A Trauma-Informed Approach to Dance/Movement Therapy for Persons Living with Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders

    Jacelyn Biondo and Karolina Bryl

    8. Dance/Movement Therapy: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Engagement in the Treatment of Substance Use

    Mary Patterson and Anne Margrethe Melsom

    9. Dance/Movement Therapy: Renewing Purpose when Emerging from Sexual Abuse and International Human Sex Trafficking

    Sohini Chakraborty and Lara Tant

    10. Dance/Movement Therapy, Trauma, and Criminalization: Reflecting on Feminist and Participatory Approaches

    Ella Dumaresq and Rosey Puloka 

    11. Refugees Dealing with Complex Trauma: Dance/Movement Therapy for Survivors of the Genocide of the Yazidi

    Ilka Konopatsch and Sabine C. Koch

    12. A Return to the Body: Trauma-Informed Dance/Movement Therapy for Individuals with Eating Disorders 

    Elise Billock Tropea and Susan Kleinman

    13. Dance/Movement Therapy with Active Duty and Veteran Military Populations

    Allison F. Winters Fisher and Elizabeth K. Freeman

    14. Trauma-Informed Dance/Movement Therapy in the Context of Medical Illness

    Minjung Shim, Eri Millrod, and Monica Gaydos

    Section 3: Widening the Scope of Dance/Movement Therapy

    15. Trauma-Informed Dance/Movement Therapy in the Age of Telehealth

    Annabelle Coote and Jennifer Ellyson  

    16. Multigenerational Cultural Trauma Considerations in Dance/Movement Therapy

    Selena Coburn, Angela M. Grayson, and Galit Zana Sterenfeld

    17. Dance/Movement Therapy and Trauma Stewardship: A Practical Guide for Helping Professionals

    Dawn Morningstar and Amy V. Ruzic

    18. Trauma-Informed Dance/Movement Therapy: Implications for Healing-Centered Education, Practice, and Research

    Jessica Young, Robyn Flaum Cruz, and Aisha Robinson



    Rebekka Dieterich-Hartwell, PhD, BC-DMT, LPC is a dance/movement therapist and researcher interested in the neurobiological effects of trauma. She currently serves as member-at-large in the American Dance Therapy Association.

    Anne Margrethe Melsom, MA, BC-DMT, LPC, NCC is a dance/movement therapy educator at Drexel University’s Creative Arts Therapies Master’s Program and is past chair of the American Dance Therapy Association’s Committee on Approval.

    "This timely and remarkable book dedicated to dance/movement therapy for trauma survivors combines theory and population-specific applications in a very accessible, readable, and sensible format by experts in the field. Carefully curated, each chapter contains an important area of dance/movement therapy theory and practice for a large spectrum of trauma-related populations, with special attention to culture and the latest knowledge and practice. It is indispensable for researchers, educators, professionals, and students of dance/movement therapy. It really is a treasure trove for the field." — Rainbow Tin Hung Ho, PhD, director of Expressive Arts Therapy Program, University of Hong Kong

    "This text moves and stirs as much as it crumbles and activates. The authors demonstrate that authentic storytelling can go hand-in-hand with theoretical knowledge as they unpack the real- world challenges facing us in 2021. Alongside an overview of the latest science in trauma work from neurobiological, sociocultural, relational, somatic, movement and creative perspectives, lie clear, yet intimate case examples making it a must read for anyone working in the field of trauma." — Claire Stephensen, RMT, MIACN, FECC, AMTA, MMusThy, BMus, registered music therapist; clinical neuropsychotherapist; embodiment coach

    "Inherent in the very nature of their training, dance/movement therapists have specialized insights into complex mind-body relationships and how our most primal and precious resource, movement, influences a range of physical, emotional, cognitive, psychological, and spiritual domains. Dieterich-Hartwell and Melsom have thoughtfully compiled a broad range of authentic and diverse voices to explain the embodiment of trauma. A crucial addition to the literature and the first of its kind, this profound compendium illuminates the potentials of dance/movement therapy in clinical practice and offers relevant directions for collaborative research." — Juliet King, ABD, ATR-BC, LPC, LMHC, associate professor of art therapy, The George Washington University

    "This book beautifully and powerfully situates dance and movement therapy (DMT) as restorative, relational, and revolutionary. Through a social justice lens, the role of dance for individual and collective liberation is uniquely illuminated and interwoven in each section. From deep cultural wisdom to the neuroscience of movement, the chapters build a compelling case and provide valuable guidance for incorporating DMT into the work of healing trauma. I will be drawing upon this resource for my teaching, my professional practice, and my own self-care!" —Shelly Harrell, PhD, professor, Pepperdine University; director, The Soulfulness Center

    "This book is, quite simply, one of the best I have ever read in dance/movement therapy. By including both younger professionals as well as established leaders, it captures the broad range of historical roots and innovative branches as it tackles the complex topic of trauma in our world. The authors tell their own stories while also creating a unified ethos of social justice, and a broad and sensitive inclusion of many different peoples and their distinct needs and voices. The trauma field has needed this book for some time, as it has struggled to understand movement's role in healing deep wounds. Dance/movement therapy has also needed to more deeply investigate the sensitivities of trauma as it moves in and through systems, families, cultures, and identities. This book masterfully encompasses both these projects with bravery and with an eye on current crises and injustices. It looks both forward and outward, while having its feet firmly planted in the centrality of our moving bodies. Accessible to any therapist or health professional that values lived experience in their work, this book will contribute to all our fields in deeply meaningful ways." — Christine Caldwell, PhD, LPC, BC-DMT, NCC, ACS, professor emeritus, Graduate School of Counseling and Psychology; Somatic Counseling; Naropa University

    "Dance/Movement Therapy for Survivors of Trauma provides a comprehensive resource describing applications of dance/movement therapy as both a primary and adjunctive modality for trauma treatment. As the mental health community becomes trauma-informed, the unique value of movement-oriented therapies is being acknowledged and appreciated. In this impressive volume, editors Rebekka Dieterich-Hartwell and Anne Margrethe Melsom have assembled chapter authors who use personal and compassionate vignettes to describe applications and insightful strategies. The volume provides convincing evidence that joyful playful movement is an effective tool in the retuning of the neural and mental systems that will enable the survivor to lose the devastating grip of trauma." — Stephen W. Porges, PhD, distinguished university scientist and founding director, Traumatic Stress Research Consortium Kinsey Institute, Indiana University; professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    "As a trauma psychologist who utilizes dance and movement therapeutically with diverse populations, I recommend Dance/Movement Therapy for Survivors of Trauma. This text is informative, accessible, and attentive to spirituality, cultural context, and oppression. Many trauma psychology books overlook historical trauma and the societal trauma of oppression, but this text gives them thoughtful, nuanced consideration. Dance/Movement Therapy for Survivors of Trauma provides a major contribution to the field and when applied can enhance the recovery of survivors." — Thema Bryant, PhD, author, psychologist, survivor, dancer

    "This impressive, in-depth and timely 18-chapter volume arrives when trauma has become a pandemic. The distinguished authors offer a critical view of how dance movement therapy/psychotherapy (DMT/P) addresses a wide range of populations suffering the effects of trauma. The foundations of DMT/P are married with neurobiology, relational concepts, and cultural healing practices. Finishing with trauma-informed DMT/P in the age of telehealth, the stewardship of trauma for helping professionals, and the implications for DMT/P education, practice and research, it takes DMT/P to another level!" —Helen Payne, PhD, professor, Reg. UKCP; Reg. ADMP UK, University of Hertfordshire