Expression, movement, communication, creativity, feelings, thoughts, actions, body and mind, healing, exploring, support, being seen, beyond words, embodiment, presence, listening, analysis, research, breathing, playfulness, curiousity, imagination, non-judgement, creative process, attunement …
- As a form of therapy we accompany individuals that suffer from mood disorders, anxiety, burn out, PTSD or complex trauma, eating disorders, autism spectrum, dementia, parkinson, psychosomatic complains, personality disorders…
- We can also work in the prevention, education or coaching, improving ones ability to express, fostering the body/mind balance, getting more embodied in daily life…
It is practiced for example 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.
What dance movement therapy IS NOT
(some answers I have heard when I introduce myself as a student of DMT)
1. Dance Movement Therapy is not LA LA LA
We don’t just dance. We are not dancing happily with beautiful music and colorful hankerchiefs in our hands.(We can but it is absolutely not only that)
We work usually with sorrow, grief, aggression, indiference… We can be directive and set limits.
and work in difficult environments such as jails or
2. DMT is not a dance lesson.
-“Oh, I am not a good dancer”
– I answer: You don’t have to be!
3. DMT is not about healing dancers.
-“A ha, so you heal dancers…”
– No, we do not heal dancers. Actually we don’t heal anybody. Each person heal by itself, and we can of course help in the process of healing.
The term DANCE in Dance Movement Therapy addresses the medium we use, not the clients we treat.
What others say
The American Dance Therapy Association founded in 1966 explains:
Based on the empirically supported premise that the body, mind and spirit are interconnected, the American Dance Therapy Association defines dance/movement therapy as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual. Dance/movement therapy is:
Focused on movement behaviour as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship. Expressive, communicative, and adaptive behaviours 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.
As the Hancock Centre explains:
Dance and movement both express and affect how we feel. Movement has the power to open neuro-pathways to and from the brain, influencing growth and development through all stages of life. (…) It has the potential to access emotions and issues that may be inaccessible in verbal therapy. In DMT, movement is used as a vehicle for self-expression, insight, and behavioral change in an affirming, non-judgmental environment.
Some other therapist that comment in a more personal way…
Richard Brunner from his blog Creative Therapy Tools:
I often define D/MT to clients as psychotherapy that is not limited to talking but encompasses the full range of human expression, including movement such as gestures and or postures, drawing, writing, drama, music and other expressions that can have a therapeutic benefit for the client(s).
Giselle Ruzany in Gestalt Dance says:
Before psychology, dance has been a source of healing and psychological outlet for thousands of years. Shamans have been finding cures by listening to their bodies intuition and listening to their subjects bodies expression in order to find their needs, ailments and cure. Society has found dances to heal social strife and economical downturns. Communities has developed dances to differentiate themselves from one another and increase the bond among its members. Dance has been used to practice self defense and strengthen the warriors of the tribe.