According to the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA): Based on the understanding that the body and mind are interrelated, dance/movement therapy (D/MT) is defined as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration of the individual. Dance/movement therapy is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational, and forensic settings, and in nursing homes, day care centers, disease prevention, and health promotion programs. The dance/movement therapist focuses on movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship. Expressive, communicative, and adaptive behaviors are all considered for both 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.
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).
Dance Movement Therapy is a creative arts therapy rooted in the expressive nature of dance. Since dance/movement comes from the body it is considered the most fundamental of the arts and is a direct expression (and experience) of the self. Dance/movement is a basic form of authentic communication, and as such it is an especially effective medium for therapy.
Dance/movement therapists (R-DMT or BC-DMT) work with individuals of all ages, groups and families in a wide variety of settings. They focus on helping their clients improve self-esteem and body image, develop effective communication skills and relationships, expand their movement vocabulary, gain insight into patterns of behavior, as well as create new options for coping with problems. Movement is the primary medium DMT’s use for observation, assessment, research, therapeutic interaction, and interventions.
DMT’s work in settings that include psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, schools, nursing homes, drug treatment centers, counseling centers, medical facilities, crisis centers, and wellness and alternative health care centers.
What does it mean to be resilient? Bounce back, bounce off of, withstand, remain standing. Is it a part of our hereditary, our inborn temperament? Perhaps it’s a positive self concept. An ability to remember the past, live in the present, and look to the future. Could it also involve hitting rock bottom, being aware of limitations, seeking support? Perhaps it’s a mentor, a will to live, a focus on healing.
Could it be that resiliency is a connection with spirituality, a commitment to listen to others, a willingness to be truthful? One thing is certain that resiliency is different for everyone, with some commonality mixed in here and there.
AS a child, I found/rediscovered resiliency outside, often in my favorite tree.
A tree stands alone
Wind rustles leaves together
We sway arm in branch
As an adult, I have found resiliency many places and many ways. Often, in combining the practice of creative movement, tai chi and hatha yoga.
As a Creative Arts Therapist who specializes in the body and is a former Yoga teacher this article is not at all surprising. Most therapists who have worked with trauma survivors know that people have a tendency to have some level of dissociation with their bodies. Yoga can gently bring a new level of conscious feeling, movement and functionally of the body which can’t be processed with other modalities.
As a teenager, Rocsana Enriquez ran away from home frequently to escape fights with her mother and sexual abuse from her stepfather. She got involved with street gangs and cycled in and out of juvenile detention.
While she was incarcerated in Central California, she started to learn yoga. It became an outlet for her anger and an antidote to the deep insecurity she felt. Before she got into a fight, she reminded herself to take a deep breath. And she loved the way she felt when she stretched into “Warrior II” pose. “It made me feel very strong,” she said.
A new report by the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown Law School shows that yoga programs can be particularly effective at helping girls who are incarcerated cope with the effects of trauma that many have experienced. Research shows yoga and mindfulness can promote healthier relationships, increase concentration, and improve self esteem and physical health.
Such programs, if offered more broadly, would be a cost-effective way to help one of the country’s most vulnerable groups heal and improve their lives, the report says.
Or go direct to the Report From Center on Poverty and Inequality
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.