Definition of Dance Movement Psychotherapy

The American Dance Therapy Association defines dance/movement therapy as the psycho-therapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual and bases this description on the empirically supported premise that the body, mind and spirit are interconnected,

Dance Movement Psychotherapy is:

  • Focused on movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship.  Expressive, communicative, and adaptive behaviors are all considered for group and individual treatment.  Body movement, as the core component of dance, simultaneously provides the means of assessment and the mode of intervention for dance/movement therapy.
  • Practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational and forensic settings, and in nursing homes, day care centers, disease prevention, health promotion programs and in private practice.
  • Effective for individuals with developmental, medical, social, physical and psychological impairments.
  • Used with people of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds in individual, couples, family and group therapy formats.

Video: Dance Movement Psychotherapy with Seniors

Video: Dance Movement Psychotherapy with Children

What is Dance Movement Psychotherapy?

Benefits of Dance Movement Psychotherapy

  • Dance movement therapy (DMT) or dance therapy can bring about a renewal of body, mind and spirit, and integrate these parts of the person.
  • Dance movement therapy or DMT brings life, reaches depths, and can bridge verbal and nonverbal modes of communication. It can go to levels unreachable in the ‘traditional’ talk therapies.
  • DMT has been demonstrated to be clinically effective at improving body image, self-esteem, attentiveness, and communication skills.
  • DMT is for everyone. It does not specify race, creed, color, gender or age.
  • DMT can also reduce stress, fear and anxiety, as well as lessen feelings of isolation, body tension, chronic pain, and depression.
  • DMT can enhance the functioning of the body’s circulatory and respiratory systems.
  • Proponents of DMT claim that it has also been used successfully to help people deal with brain injury, AIDS, arthritis, amputation, stroke, cancer, and a number of other physical ailments.
  • DMT has also been shown to benefit adolescent and adult psychiatric patients, the learning disabled, the visually and hearing impaired, the mentally handicapped, and the elderly (especially those in nursing homes).
  • DMT increases self-awareness; links feelings, thoughts and actions; helps you express powerful feelings and actions; maximizes the ability to communicate; tests the consequences of free expression on others; helps to manage the feelings that obstruct learning; helps improve the development of trusting relationships.
  • DMT can give you a sense of achievement.