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  • Susana Garcia-Medrano

What is Dance Movement Therapy?


Dance Movement Therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that is based on body movement as a diagnosis and also as a treatment to improve physical and mental health. Through several exercises such as spontaneous movement, free dance, breathing or stretching, people can get in touch with aspects of themselves that have been repressed. These include traumatic memories.

Dance Movement Therapy is part of the art therapies. It has its origin in the 40’s of the last century. It has a solid theoretical base and research that support it.

“DMP is a relational process in which client/s and therapist engage creatively using body movement and dance to assist the integration of emotional, cognitive, physical, social and spiritual aspects of self.” ADMT-UK

Who could benefit from Dance Movement Therapy?

Everybody

A dance movement therapist could work with everybody: children, adults, teens and seniors. Dance movement therapy could benefit people mental or physical illnesses.

“…people may be experiencing mental or emotional distress or conflict, problems with communication or information processing, difficulties with body image, physical discomfort or movement restrictions. People may be struggling with the impact of trauma or having to deal with loss, transition or change in their lives or there may be relationship difficulties. People may be trying to deal with difficulties such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, psychoses, bereavement, post-traumatic stress, abuse, addiction, learning difficulties, sensory difficulties, physical disabilities, emotional/behavioural difficulties and autism.” ADMT-UK

Dance movement therapy could help people who have no diagnosis of mental or physical illness but who wish to increase their self-awareness, who find themselves in some time of crisis or who need to revaluate their emotional life.

“DMP can also support personal development by enhancing personal communication skills, self-exploration and self-understanding”. ADMT-UK



What are the benefits of DMT?

Research shows that dance movement therapy help people to improve health.

Moving and dancing produce oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin is a hormone and neurotransmitter associated with rest, growth, self-healing of the body as well as interpersonal relationships.

Dance movement therapy helps reduce stress and anxiety, facilitates rest, increases the sense of well-being, promotes concentration, relaxation and calm. It also helps in unlocking repressed experiences such as trauma products.

Benefits of DMP can include an increase in self-confidence, self-expression and the development of tools with which to express or manage overwhelming feelings or thoughts. DMP can help increase self-awareness, self-esteem and personal autonomy. It also supports the development of trust within relationships and offers an opportunity to test the impact of self on others in a safe and contained environment. ADMT-UK


How can DMT support community development?

All societies have danced; it is part of our humanity. Dance has played many roles, including social cohesion. Important research has documented that DMT in collective or community spaces helps to increase trust among those who integrate a group, reduces existing prejudices, increases empathy, spontaneity, creativity and social cohesion.

“DMP encourages the finding of inner resources through contained creative movement play. It can help develop resources and skills in communication and social interaction and provide an opportunity to increase and rehearse adaptive coping behaviours.” ADMP-UK

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