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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3758

Title: The Utilization of Movement and Dance to Support Children in the Aftermath of Community Disaster
Authors: Silberg, Dahlia Nissa
Keywords: Dance/Movement Therapy;Children;Disasters
Issue Date: 12-Jul-2012
Abstract: The presence of natural disasters and man-made disasters, have been significantly increasing over the past twenty years. These disasters are devastating, overwhelming, and potentially traumatizing for the communities and individuals involved. Children exposed to these disasters are especially at risk because they are still developing socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically. Given the large body of literature regarding the relationship between trauma and the body, it is important to examine how body based approaches such as dance and movement can provide support in the aftermath of traumatic experience. The objective of this research study is to investigate how movement and dance are utilized with children who have experienced community level disasters. The study employed a descriptive qualitative design in which the researcher interviewed 10 individuals who have utilized dance and movement techniques in their work with children after disasters. Interviews lasting 50 minutes were conducted over the phone and Skype and included questions about demographics, context of disaster work, and nature of the dance/movement support. The researcher initially noted the participant’s common and variant responses to the interview questions. In addition, the researcher analyzed emergent themes that crossed questions and created a sub-group of creative arts therapists to look at emergent themes specific to this group. The common themes that emerged from all the participants included, focused breathing, play, sustainability, flexibility, be a witness/be present, and culture as comfort. Three themes emerged solely from the creative arts therapists’ sub-group including, structure, hope, and attune to the child’s needs. These themes along with the shared responses suggested a need to create a safe holding environment and build trust with the children. Movement and dance served an important role in this process by allowing for self-expression and play which let the children return to normal. Integrating cultural beliefs and rituals was also an essential component of sessions, which could be explored and created through movement. The themes also reflect the importance participants place on having a supportive team, coping strategies, and a flexible and receptive attitude. The researcher has utilized these results to create a set of guidelines for future therapists, teachers, and other youth workers who wish to work with children after community disasters.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3758
Appears in Collections:Health Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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