Everyone knows that dancing makes you feel better. The movement, the response to the rhythms, the sense of freedom. Dance therapy with our providers simply takes therapeutic dance to another level.
What is dance therapy?
Dance therapy is based on the idea that motion and emotion are interconnected. This therapy uses movement to help individuals achieve emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration. Unlike most therapy, dance therapy has both physical and mental benefits. our providers use dance/movement therapy for stress reduction, disease prevention, and mood management. The physical component helps patients increase their muscular strength, improve coordination, extend mobility, and decrease their muscle tension.
What issues can dance therapy be used to improve?
Dance therapy helps patients improve their body image and self-esteem. It offers a unique combination of psychological, physical, cognitive, and social benefits. Here are different conditions and issues our providers treat with dance therapy:
- Physical issues — Chronic pain, childhood obesity, cancer, arthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease
- Mental health issues — Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-esteem, PTSD
- Cognitive issues — Dementia, communication issues
- Social issues — Autism, violence/aggression, domestic violence trauma, social interaction, family conflict
How can dance therapy be beneficial to patients?
People sometimes mistakenly assume they need to be an experienced or trained dancer to benefit from dance/movement therapy. This is not the case. Feelings and life experiences live inside our bodies and can become trapped. The body can be the key to unlocking various levels of healing. These are not dance “classes,” akin to Zumba. This is therapeutic exposure that allows the patient to communicate conscious and unconscious feelings through dance. Our providers respond to movements, assesses body language, nonverbal behaviors, and emotional expressions to develop interventions that address the specific needs of the patient.
How are dance therapy sessions done?
Dance/movement therapy sessions often include observation, assessment, warm-ups, interventions, verbal processing, and warm-down phases focused on achieving closure. These sessions with our providers may be done with individuals or groups. They may be highly structured or free flowing depending on the patient.
These are key principles involved with dance/movement therapy:
- Body and mind are interconnected so that a change in one impacts the other.
- Movement can express aspects of the personality.
- Part of the therapeutic relationship is communicated through non-verbal means.
- Movements can be symbolic and can represent unconscious material/processes.
- Movement improvisation/experimentation can bring about new ways of being.