DANCE MOVEMENT THERAPY

Danstherapie

Renée Wolters

By three methods
we may learn wisdom:

reflection is the noblest;
imitation is the easiest;
experience is the bitterest;
Confucius


Dance Therapy
The American Dance Therapy Association defines dance/movement therapy as ‘the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual. Based on the empirically supported premise that the body, mind and spirit are interconnected’ (ADTA), dance movement therapy is an experiential and bodily-based form of therapy during which dance and movement are utilized to initiate a process of change. It is based on direct bodily experiences and is suitable for treating: physical complaints, insecurity, fear, anxiety, depression, stress and burn-out, an imbalance between one’s thinking and feeling, addiction, lack of awareness of boundaries and defensibility, obesity and eating disorders, relational problems, trauma, post-traumatic stress and complicated grief. Dance movement therapists emphasize the fact that new experiences must be ‘owned’ and integrated in the body in order to have effect. Dance movement therapy offers an individual the possibility to undergo this process by means of; free spatial movement, (re) discovering the meaning of playing, awareness of the body, daring to lose oneself in the movement and the music, experience spontaneity, be expressive, letting oneself be heard and seen through means of metaphors, symbolism, movement and behavior.


How does dance movement therapy work?

Complaints are visible in the body and it’s movement. This also means that through body and movement, one can initiate change, discover the origin of the complaints and reduce or relieve them. Through dance movement therapy one obtains insight into own behavior, pitfalls, feelings, and personal body language. One learns to recognize the own possibilities and limitations, which makes it able to form a more realistic image of how one actively could and would like to shape it’s life. A dance movement therapist makes use of different methods and (e.g. observation) techniques. These are utilized by structured or more open and purposeful exercises, forms of movement or (playful) dance, and also by means of movement improvisation and free dance. Through symbolic and expressive movement and the body and the mind connection one is in touch with- and is able to express his/her inner world. Dance movement therapy offers the opportunity to gain experience and awareness regarding personal feelings and emotions and to learn to accept, express and process them. The focus is on what’s visible in the present and what one currently feels, from which there can be dealt with possible (often painful) experiences from the past. As a result, there is integration between the direct experience and conscious rational thinking that can then be translated and brought into daily life. When dance movement therapy is offered individually it is adjusted to the needs of the individual. In-group dance movement therapy the focus is also on the power and the dynamics of the group and it’s themes. Ultimately the goal is to help one shape and experience life in a personal and creative (new) way.

’Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found’ (James Russell Lowell)


For whom?

Within dance movement therapy ‘acting and experiencing’ is at the center. As a result, it is a suitable form of therapy for those individuals who are strong speakers and thinkers but the feeling part needs attention, or for individuals who are more comfortable in gaining non-verbal experiences. This form of therapy can be a good supplement next to verbal therapies such as psychotherapy and analysis. Dance movement therapy is suitable for; infants, children, youth, adolescents, adults, elderly, families, and complicated relationships in both individual and group treatment. Dance experience is not at all needed, and this form of therapy is also suitable for people with a physical disabilities.


Adults

Youth and adolescents

 

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