American Journal of Dance Therapy

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 191–201 | Cite as

Embodying Activism: Reconciling Injustice Through Dance/Movement Therapy

  • Mira CantrickEmail author
  • Terra Anderson
  • Lucia Bennett Leighton
  • Melanie Warning


Dance/movement therapy (DMT) is a pathway to address oppression in the therapeutic context. The consideration of the body, and its relationship to power and privilege, is crucial as we strive to integrate a social justice lens into the field of DMT. Through an exploration of the literature, including activism, traumatology, and embodiment, we provide a definition of social justice within the field of dance/movement therapy. Trauma is experienced in the body, and oppression is a form of trauma. Social justice DMT is the inclusion of the body in how counselors conceptualize and confront oppression in the therapeutic relationship, as well as the larger community. Socially just dance/movement therapists expand their role and theoretical scope to include activism and the systemic impact on social-emotional well being, as well continually consider their own biases and limitations. This paper works to radically reconsider how power shows up in the counseling context.


Dance/movement therapy Oppression Trauma Social justice Activism 



There was no funding for this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© American Dance Therapy Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Naropa UniversityBoulderUSA

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