That little thing called a master’s thesis.


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Before graduating from the Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling program, each student must complete a thesis.  Yes, I said it, a master’s thesis–a document that discusses research that one has conducted.  As a second year student in the DMT & C program, I am only at the beginning of my process, taking the first steps towards figuring out what my thesis is going to be.

One word describes how I am currently feeling about conducting research and writing a master’s thesis: AMBIVALENCE.

On the one hand, I am so very excited to have the opportunity to design and conduct a research project on my own.  I truly have the flexibility to do whatever I want (as long as it is ethical, of course), and to conduct research that really excites me.  On the other hand, I am feeling a bit daunted by the whole thing.  This is going to be a lot of work…. A LOT of work.  First I must formulate an idea of what I would like to do.  After that: a literature review, deciding on research methods, a research proposal to Columbia’s Internal Review Board (IRB), conducting research, analyzing the data/results, and then finally sitting down to write…..

I can do it.

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Like I said, I am merely at the beginning of my process trying to decipher a research topic.  The theme of performance is something that keeps coming up for me, as evidenced by my previous blog posts and the utilization of performance as a therapeutic intervention.  Since I am currently working with adults with developmental disabilities at my internship, I hope to focus my research with them.  So as it stands, my thesis topic is “Using performance as therapy with adults with developmental disabilities,” or something like that?

Right now I am merely seeing what research has already been done on DMT & C with adults with disabilities and performance as therapy.  In my search, I found this really cool video of adults with developmental disabilities performing modern dance.  I believe the work was either showcased or documented at the Sprout Touring Film Festival.

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The above video is truly beautiful to me, and this is something that I would like to do with my clients at Anixter Center as a way to broaden the scope of research on performance as therapy.  I always found performing to be therapeutic in my own personal life and believe that it could be for not only my current clients but for all people.