Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) refers to the professional practice of psychotherapy through movement. Grounded in the premise that the body and mind are inseparable. The ultimate goal of dance movement therapy is to support the experience of wholeness through integration of the body mind and spirit (Levy 1988).
People of all ages can benefit from dance movement therapy. Dance experience is not necessary. Dance movement therapy can open doors to feeling more at home in your body. It is especially valuable to people where trauma, injury or illness has impacted the body and or the sense of self; for example people dealing with: eating disorders, mental health issues including addiction, anxiety, depression and needs for recovery from violence. The creative and spontaneous aspects of dance movement therapy provide a natural modality appropriate to the developing body-centred child and adolescent presentation. It has vbeen used effectively with children with autism, emotional needs, and learning dissabilities. Dance movement therapy is also is frequently used in working with the older adults in the community to reignite their joy in movement. Other communities that can be supported by dance movement therapy include working with men with a focus on men’s issues, intercultural communities, issues of diversity, and issues of sexuality and sexual identity. Dance movement therapy is most recently being applied to engaging with the environment, and urban challenges.
Dance movement therapy sessions can be with individuals, couples or with groups. Dance movement therapists use their knowledge of somatic practices and their understanding of choreographic devices to engage with the language of the body as well as the verbal. Therapists use their own bodies as a vehicle for attunement, communication and support. Based on the age and needs of the client, a session length may vary depending on the attention span and focus of the client. The frequency of the sessions is determined during the initial assessment.
Dance Movement Therapy can help in:
- Developing appropriate body image , tone and self acceptence
- Learning to express and regulate feelings
- Learning to break down problems and make decisions
- Developing an integrated body sense
- Healing developmental deficiencies
- Managing life challenges
- Resourcing and embodiment after traumatic experiences
- Working through conflicts
- Working on relationships challenges including intimacy and sexuality
- Developing relationship skills
- Developing diversity skills, working with different cultural imprints and intercultural competence
- Developing self awarness and confidence
- Working with enviromental issues in urban and rural spaces
Dance Movement Therapists are trained to Master’s level and are accredited by IACAT. They carry out assessments, design and implement therapy programs and evaluate outcomes with reference to the most up to date research base. Therapists undertake continuing professional development and regular clinical supervision.