Date of Conferral

2020

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Ruth Crocker

Abstract

In the United States, approximately 7.7 million individuals are affected by posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at any given time. Though women are likelier to develop PTSD symptoms, men are exposed to more traumatic events in their lifetimes. Empirically- supported PTSD options exist, however clinical application of these treatments may not consistently culminate in beneficial outcomes. Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) has demonstrated positive treatment outcomes for a variety of mental and physical disorders. Nonetheless, there is a lack of robust research related to the treatment experiences of men who have participated in DMT for trauma-related symptoms. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore this research gap. Focusing on adult male trauma survivors, the research question addressed the lived experiences of participating in DMT and the meaning ascribed to this involvement. Eleven adult male participants were interviewed via audio-recorded telephone interviews consisting of semistructured interview questions. Through a constructivist lens, the modified Van Kaam method of analysis was implemented revealing 4 emergent themes. The findings of this explorative study suggested positive PTSD symptom outcomes for all 11 participants including improvements in social belongingness, social acceptance, quality of life, and a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression. Accordingly, the findings of this research may help to advance social change through broadening clinical awareness of the beneficial neurogenic treatment advantages of somatic and creative interventions such as DMT for PTSD. Moreover, these findings may augment existing research related to movement- based treatment options for individuals coping with PTSD and trauma-related symptoms.

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