American Journal of Dance Therapy

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 202–223 | Cite as

Dance/Movement Therapists’ Attitudes and Actions Regarding LGBTQI and Gender Nonconforming Communities

  • Tomoyo KawanoEmail author
  • Robyn Flaum Cruz
  • Xueli Tan


This study examined dance/movement therapists’ attitudes and actions regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex (LGBTQI), and gender nonconforming communities (GNC). Building on similar studies conducted by music therapists and drama therapists, 42 survey questions were used to understand dance/movement therapists’ knowledge, preparedness, and how competent practice is being defined and enacted. The findings were analyzed based on 361 responses (26% response rate). Respondents were primarily professionals from the US (88%) who identified as female or cisgender female (91%) with a master’s degree (67%). The majority (87%) of dance/movement therapists reported being open and affirming, and 50% reported seeking supervision to counsel clients from the LGBTQI and GNC communities. However, a gap between the attitudes and applications of clinical skills was found. Sixty-two percent identified socio-political and/or legal issues, 48% named specific open and affirming approaches, and less than 1% reported the use of supervision as an approach to work with these communities. Fifty-two percent reported that clients’ sexual orientation had no influence on their choice of music, movement, or other interventions, and 43% reported the same for gender identity. The lack of knowledge and preparedness point to the need for more training and supervision. Advocacy counseling on the individual, institutional, and societal levels are suggested. More aesthetic research on movement, music, and prop choices are also recommended.


LGBTQ Intersex Transgender Gender nonconforming Dance/movement therapy education 



Our gratitude goes out to Team Rainbow for sharing the original survey for music therapy. We also thank Nisha Sajnani for sharing the revised survey for drama therapy. Our great appreciation goes out to dance/movement therapists Thania Acarón for reviewing the dance/movement therapy survey prior to dissemination, and to T Thomas for reviewing the manuscript. Last, but not least, we thank the ADTA and dance/movement therapy community for taking the time to participate and share your voices.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have 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.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© American Dance Therapy Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling Program, Department of Applied PsychologyAntioch University New EnglandKeeneUSA
  2. 2.Lesley UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.GAMUT - The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research CentreUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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