20 January 2011

Dance Therapy - What is it?

Dance Therapy - an opportunity to heal, celebrate & release.

Dance/movement therapy as defined by the American dance Therapy Association is the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process which furthers the emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual. 

Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT)

a) Uses the most fundamental of the arts – direct expression through the body – thus becoming a powerful medium for both therapy and self-discovery.

b) Involves a direct experience of oneself through the body

c) Explore images, memories, feelings, the meaning of one’s life experiences, improve communication skills, and to facilitate emotional, physical, social, cognitive and spiritual growth

d) Outward way of expressing deep inner feelings, unlocking tensions, and relieving the effects on the body

e) Promotes health of body, emotions and mind

f) Provides a way of knowing more about yourself, your interactions with others, needing only a willingness and desire to encourage our own and each other’s movement

Basic Assumption/Principles
  • The basis of DMT is the recognition of the interrelationship between mind, body and spirit.
  • Therapists believe that mental and emotional difficulties are often held in the body in the form of muscle tension, and this will constrain movement.
  • On the other hand, therapists’ experience with clients leads then to the firm belief that the states of the body can affect attitudes and feelings, both positively and negatively.
  • Therapists link writing, drawing, music and movement to express thoughts, release emotions, celebrate emotions and facilitate healing in a safe and creative way.

*This is only a brief summary of what dance therapy is to give reader a general view of DMT. To further deepen understanding in DMT, there are many books and journals written by many professional dance therapists (In my fan page, books, articles, journals are shared).  Or visit ADTA (internationally), CODARTS (Netherlands), NVDAT (Netherlands) for more information.  Dr. Suzi Tortora has written a comprehensive write-out on DMT in her website, Dancing Dialogue.*
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