Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Dancers-Psychology, Dance therapy, Adjustment (Psychology), Mind and body, Movement therapy, Mirror neurons, Dance, DMT, Dance movement therapy, Movement-based practice, Mind-body connection, Qualitative


The following qualitative-interview based study explored the therapeutic benefits of dance training classes (i.e. ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, etcetera) as reported by dancers who are currently in individual talk-therapy for life adjustment issues. Life adjustment issues are defined as, but are not limited to, loss of job, divorce, marital conflict, and gender issues. Using thematic coding, the researcher found that all participants reported that dance was therapeutic and/or mentally healing for life adjustment issues of mood disturbance (anxiety and depression), low selfesteem, eating disorders, medical diagnosis, and problems in personal relationships. Participants also reported that dance provided physical benefits, a non-verbal outlet for expression of difficult and painful emotions, increased motivation and energy, a meditative release and freedom from ruminating on negative thoughts, mind-body integration, and increased focus. These findings suggest that dance may be able to improve quality of life by reducing mental illness symptoms and increasing physical health and cognitive abilities possibly through mind body integration.




ii, 42 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 33-35)