Dance Movement Therapy centres around the notion that the body and mind are interconnected, and that body movement reflects the state of a person’s inner-self. Dance therapists seek to heal mental issues by encouraging dance-like movement in a controlled, relaxing environment. The practice is thought to reveal and address conflicts that exist in both the conscious and unconscious.
Dance therapy can be traced back to the 1930s and dance teacher Marian Chace. She encouraged her students to express their emotions through dancing. Local doctors, seeing the benefits of the approach, started sending patients to her classes.
This would eventually led to the setting up of the American Dance Therapy Association in 1966, of which Chace was the association’s first president. Since then Dance Movement Therapy has spread to countries all over the world and is applied in a variety of forms.
The counselling approach belongs to the Creative Arts Therapy family. Practitioners believe mental problems can cause physical problems such as tension and restricted movement. It is also thought that the body state has the potential to bring about negative mental effects such as frustration or anger.
Dance movement is therefore encouraged to relieve both mental and physical problems with therapists seeking to find harmony between the body and mind.
How can Dance Therapy help?
Like all aspects of Expressive psychotherapy, this kind of therapy is well-suited to people who have difficulty in expressing emotions. This may include pthose who have experienced traumatic events that they can’t easily talk about. Those suffering from serious illness may also benefit.
Useful Resources for Dance Therapy