Dance Therapy: Discover Yourself Through Movement

Dance Therapy: Discover Yourself Through Movement

Dance Therapy: Discover Yourself Through Movement

Dance Therapy: Discover Yourself Through Movement

Dance/ Movement Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that promotes the use of movement as a tool for emotional, physical, social and cognitive integration. This method of therapy does not focus on dancing or stylistic movement. Rather, it lets a person express all of their thoughts and feelings in the form of movement, allowing them to feel free. This article explores a unique form of therapy. It paints a descriptive picture of Dance Movement Therapy by talking about all its aspects.

Origin of Dance Movement Therapy:

Expressive art therapies go back to the nineteenth century. This therapy method started being explored as people recognized the capabilities of dance to go beyond that of entertainment. Dance Therapy was pioneered by Marian Chace, Mary Whitehouse, and Trudy Schoop. It is influenced by the theoretical frameworks of psychodynamic theory, Gestalt theory, and humanistic theory. The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) was founded in 1966. The first president of the association was Marian Chance. It advocates the development and expansion of Dance Movement Therapy at a national and international level. Currently, it is being led by Angela M. Grayson.

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The Indian Association of Dance Movement Therapy (IADMT) is a professional body that has been set up for Dance Movement and facilitators. It was established in 1975 as a national association registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975. This body encourages the growth of DBT and has taken the responsibility of setting ethical standards for professional practice, training, and supervision in the field of Dance Movement Therapy in India.

Principles of Dance Movement Therapy:

DMT is a form of therapy that caters to a large population of individuals. It is conducted by certified therapists and it’s known for its ability to bring about positive change.

  • Mind-Body Connection: DMT works on the principle that the mind and body exist in connection with each other. This therapeutic form integrates bodily experiences and emotions to provide a holistic understanding of self.
  • Creative Expression: Authentic expression lands an individual on the path of self-discovery, giving insights into aspects of one’s personality.
  • Nonverbal Communication: An individual is presented with a channel of communicating ideas that might be difficult to process. This might be beneficial to those individuals who struggle with traditional methods of therapy.
  • Embodiment: The body becomes a symbolic vessel that expresses emotions. Releasing emotions in this method of therapy helps in self-integration.

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Expression through Movement:

Movement as a form of expression is the earliest form of communication in our lives. Through DMT, an individual can unfold their inner sensations and impulses. While engaging in this form of therapy, an individual becomes more self-aware as they start to view and understand themselves through the medium of their body.

The expression can be of two types:

  • Static Expression: Expression through the body is limited to certain parts like the face or limbs.
  • Dynamic Movement: This kind of expression involves the movement of the entire body.
Techniques of Dance/ Movement Therapy:

DMT looks different for every person and is tailored to each person according to their needs and the intensity of emotions experienced by them. For one person, the process of DMT might be heavily verbal, while for another, it might be completely movement-oriented. DMT lets individuals deal with issues that they might find difficult to talk about and bring to a surface level those painful and difficult-to-address thoughts that are buried in the unconscious mind.

Mirroring: One technique of DMT where an individual is required to copy the movement of another person. This technique can create a channel to empathize with each other and connect at a personal level.

Why DMT?

DMT is an unconventional form of therapy. So, one might question why they should opt for it.

  • Helps you build and understand the connection between movement and your emotions.
  • Lets you process those feelings that have been evoked as a result of movement, which were once buried inside you.
  • Offers therapeutic intervention in healing.
Benefits of Dance/ Movement Therapy:

Whether you view it from a physiological or psychological point, DMT has its way of shining in both.

Psychological Benefits:

  • Although research on the topic is in its initial stages, it shows that DMT helps to provide relief from symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • DMT contributes to relieving stress in an individual’s life.
  • Indulging in DMT helps you out aside body image issues.

Physiological Benefits:

  • A useful solution for patients with high blood pressure, DMT helps in lowering blood pressure significantly.
  • Helpful in dealing with chronic pain, or even arthritis.
  • It improves balance in people who have Parkinson’s disease.

These are just some benefits of Dance Movement Therapy among many others. You can opt for DMT just as a way of improving the quality of life as well.

Dance/ Movement Therapy in India:

DMT is not well known in India, hence there is limited participation in this form of therapy. While it is not practised regularly in the country, techniques of yoga and meditation have been incorporated into the culture as techniques to heal the body and mind. Dance and movement, although not from a therapeutic point of view, are well celebrated. They are used as methods of representation of emotions. Movement brings together the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and sky. This is a representation of nature in its truest form, indicating how movements let us connect to our inner selves.

Summing Up

This hidden, lesser-known form of therapy tries to increase its visibility among mainstream therapeutic methods. Dance/ Movement Theory might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it welcomes all individuals, irrespective of their age and the problems faced by them. This method of therapy lets an individual become one with their own body, increasing self-awareness through the guidance of the therapist. It is a fairly new approach to therapy, and its unique nature makes it harder for it to dominate other therapeutic forms. DMT offers a stress-relieving approach to understanding complicated human expression that might otherwise be frustrating to untangle. It has proven itself to be a helpful therapeutic form, although many aspects of it remain unexplored. It is impossible to deny its growth in the field of interventions for both psychological and physiological hardships.

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