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Dance Movement Therapy

“Movement is one of the most basic forms of self-expression. Through such self-expression, particularly in the form of dance, a person strengthens the sense of self” (Lowen, in Espenak, 1981, p.1x).

The American Dance Therapy Association defines dance/movement therapy as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process which furthers the emotional, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual.” (www.adta.org).

“The basic view underlying the concept of dance therapy is that the expressive aspects of a personality, in its gestures, movements and postures, are a function of the individual totality: the intellectual, emotional, unconscious, and somatic totality. Given this totality, it is therefore theoretically possible to provide effective therapeutic intervention at any level of these behavioral modes, due to the phenomenon of their interaction” (Espenak, 1981, p. 3).

“Body movement reflects inner emotional states and changes in movement behavior can lead to changes in the psyche, thus promoting health and growth” (Levy, 1988, p.1).

Dance/movement therapy operates on the belief that the body is the vehicle for emotional healing. It is a therapeutic modality that accesses the unconscious and the invisible directly through the body (Caldwell, 1996). Caldwell writes that “sensation, breath and movement are the body’s form of speech, and that if we listen to this speech we can complete and release stored trauma, relearn how to feel excitement and pleasure and engage in activities that nourish” (Ibid. p.4).

References:

Caldwell, C. (1996). Getting Our Bodies Back. Boston: Shambahala Publications, Inc.

Espenak, L. (1981). Dance Therapy: Theory and Application. Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, Publisher

Levy, F.J. (Ed.D.) (1988). Dance Movement Therapy: A Healing Art. Reston, Virginia: The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

 
 


 
 

 

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