Dance Movement Therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance through which a person can engage creatively in a process to further their emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration. It is founded on the principle that movement reflects an individual’s patterns of thinking and feeling. Through acknowledging and supporting clients’ movements the therapist encourages development and integration of new adaptive movement patterns together with the emotional experiences that accompany such changes. Dance Movement Therapy is practiced as both individual and group therapy in health, education and social service settings and in private practice.
Dance Movement Therapists work with a wide variety of clients including people who are emotionally disturbed, those with physical or mental illness and people who want to use the medium for personal growth.
While the origins of dance as a healing art lie in ancient history, the contemporary profession relies also upon 20th Century psychological theories and therapeutic practices developed primarily in Europe and the U.S.A. The profession is informed by continuing international research.
Who is DMT for?
• for anyone experiencing difficulty or concern with emotional problems, conflict or distress.
• for people who want to enhance personal communication skills, self-exploration or self-understanding.
• for people who may find some feelings or experiences too overwhelming or difficult to communicate by words alone, or for those who may avoid feelings or confuse issues in their use of words.
• for people whose problems are bound up in bodily form; in distortions or concern about body image, in actual movement difficulties such as tension or blocked areas of the body, abnormal movements or in anxieties about proximity, physical contact or trust.
• for people where impairment or trauma may hinder the capacity for them or others to acknowledge and understand personal areas of strength and weakness.
• for people during particular periods of distress such as those associated with loss, transition or change.
• for people concerned that problems they feel have gone on for too long, or who have a general sense that “things are not right” for them, their relationships or their family.
Benefits of DMT
• increasing self-awareness, self-esteem and personal autonomy.
• experiencing links between thought, feelings and actions.
• increasing and rehearsing adaptive coping behaviors.
• expressing and managing overwhelming feelings or thoughts.
• maximising resources of communication.
• contacting inner resources through contained creative play.
• testing the impact of self on others.
• testing inner with outer reality.
• initiating physical, emotional and/or cognitive shifts.
• developing a trusting relationship.
• helping a person manage feelings that interrupt learning.
• enhancing social interaction skills.
Dance Movement Therapy may be recommended as a primary service or as a complement to other forms of on-going treatment, rehabilitation or education. The therapy can be short or long term and is available for adults and children.
Referrals may be made directly to a practitioner by anyone interested in the service.