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American Journal of Dance Therapy

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 254–276 | Cite as

Encountering Disenfranchised Grief: An Investigation of the Clinical Lived Experiences in Dance/Movement Therapy

  • Katie M. DominguezEmail author
Article
  • 137 Downloads

Abstract

This study employed a transcendental phenomenological methodology to understand how clients’ lived experiences of disenfranchised grief are present within the clinical therapeutic relationship in dance/movement therapy. Data were collected through individual semi-structured interviews from four dance/movement therapists who have worked with clients experiencing disenfranchised grief. Moustakas’ adaptation of the Stevick–Colaizzi–Keen method of data analysis was used concurrently with data collection. Data analysis resulted in four textural themes: (a) Disenfranchised grief can be described as disconnecting, overwhelming, complex, unrecognized, and pervasive; (b) It is distinguished by exacerbated grief; (c) It is recognized as a distinct form of grief; and (d) It involved consistencies in biopsychosocial and movement goals and focus. Structural themes describe how disenfranchisement was experienced: (a) social/cultural factors, (b) dance/movement therapy approach and interventions, (c) heightened kinesthetic empathy and somatic countertransference, and (d) the therapeutic movement relationship. These themes support the current literature and suggest that the experience of disenfranchised grief includes embodied effects. Furthermore, dance/movement therapy may assist with addressing these effects, restoring individuals’ right to grieve, and supporting them in their grieving process.

Keywords

Dance/movement therapy Disenfranchised grief Grief Phenomenology 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to my participants for sharing their lived experiences and desire to shed light on the phenomenon of disenfranchised grief. Jessica Young, thank you so much for your dedication to guiding me through my research and writing process; your support was truly invaluable. Dr. Doka, thank you for your pioneering work that inspired my research. I am so honored and fortunate to have received your support and insight on this project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

This writer declares that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Copyright information

© American Dance Therapy Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Creative Arts TherapiesColumbia College ChicagoChicagoUSA

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