My first session of Dance therapy with people diagnosed with Depression

Enthousiasm of beginner.
I wrote everything down.
Initial plan.

What happened.


I will not do this with every session.  I guess in the beginning everybody is enthousiast and writes everything down. However is impossible. And not necessary.

Well. Here I explain my first session with people that come for a day treatment with the diganosis of deppression.

It is an open group, so they come if they feel like it. During the first two weeks I already met some of them, we played tennis together, went shopping and cooked, and painted and chatted in the atelier.

So I already talked about dance therapy with them and tried to persuade them to come to try.

Sin título

My initial plan

Circles warm up:

Warm up the body in circles, doing circles in different articulations. Asking them which other body parts can do round movements.

–> attention towards the body, phisical engagement, stop thinking.

Karate walking:

Punching in the air. 1, 2, 3, steps and strong shout.

—> Grounding, use of voice, breathing and movement connection, strenght feeling

Skipping exercise:

Make yourself very sad, try to feel very sad and walk around very slowly. Keep the feeling and go a little bit faster. Keep the feeling. Hold to it. Walk faster. Anf faster, and faster.

–> show the connection between body and emotions. It is impossible to keep saf when one is using a lot of energy. The sadness becomes either anger or joy.


Three points in the space and think of a moment in your life when you felt strong. Find three movements.

–> Movement exploration, connection to their past and future lives.

What it turned out to happen

I had only male participants in the session!

The karate walk felt good, and I asked them to really push their feet to the ground.
I also incorporate the Space& Rhythm exercise with clapping where they could lead when they wanted. (IMPROVISED!)

For improvising instead of in a circle we stood in two lines, face to face, and did a bit of mirroring.

ABC was a catastroph!
To ask them to think and then to move was not a good idea.We are already quite stuck in our minds in everyday life so to ask them to THINK was definitely not a good idea.

When I saw the  sudden immobility I change the idea.

We have to move and then reflect, not think and then move.

DOWN UP instead of TOP- DOWN.

I ask them simply movements. In the A: Strong movement. In the B: Open. In the C: Smaller.
This worked much better. They created movements. Without thinking.



This was the session.  My first one.
Now looking backwards I see that there was no clear focus, no clear objective and no clear resolution. It was a bit copypaste of things. My sessions now are bit better.

I have a lot to learn!

At least this can be an example of a reality of our profession as dance therapist:


Well this is what happens in therapy.

You have a plan. Or not.

And then you have to improvise

Be in the moment.

And that is why I love it so much.