Interpersonal trauma is a serious and devastating problem for women and girls from all walks of life. Research has shown that there are physiological consequences for experiencing trauma, and as such, treatment for trauma may need to target the body. Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) has been emerging in the current literature as one body-oriented treatment approach that is effective in helping women and girls heal from interpersonal trauma. This review examines how practitioners are currently using DMT for this population, what treatment outcomes have been observed, and what the racial/ethnic identities and international contexts are for survivors who have benefited from DMT. Through textual narrative evidence synthesis, this review systematically examined recent literature to find that the characteristics and structure of DMT vary greatly between different practitioners, the participants of DMT are very diverse, and there are many commonly observed outcomes: increased physical ability, increased emotional capacity, mind-body integration, safety, aid with trauma processing, empowerment, social support, and fun. This review also gives recommendations for practitioners who wish to utilize this treatment method: conduct DMT in groups; use the body to create metaphor, imagery, and symbolism; give survivors choices in how they participate in DMT; use music purposefully; and don’t forget to have fun.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Movement therapy—Girls; Movement therapy—Women; Arts—Therapeutic use; Psychic trauma

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Thema Bryant