The University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Social Work, presents a lecture by Rena Kornblum.
Dance/movement therapy is the psycho-therapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.
In this video, you will learn about the field of dance/movement therapy, and how non-verbal work can augment your practice.
Rena Kornblum, MCAT, ADTR, DTRL, is the Executive Director of Hancock Center for Dance/Movement Therapy & a Board Certified dance/movement therapist.
A friend commented that it might be hard to evaluate someone who could only move their hands/arms. Basically the same principles apply whether the movement is with legs through the space or being still with a posture, or moving the arms.
Arms and especially hands are the most common movement elements, feet and legs are next and of course not everybody can move everything so an assessment/evaluation is made with what you can get from a patient/client.
Of course an assessment is guided by the intention. If I want to know how someone is feeling and they are reluctant to share verbally I might ask them to express with their hands (which I often do at the hospital) if they are unclear how they are feeling and how to express that with their hands I might switch to a simple game with the intention of warming them up.
A warm up involving the hands could be tossing and catching a small stuffed animal and at some point adding words by answering easy questions like; my favorite food is “____”. If the person is nonverbal than you can interact with facial/postural/gestural expressions when tossing the animal and/or mirroring to interact and experience/create a response.
The assessment/evaluation happens when observing/witnessing the force and effort used to toss the cow and/or the facial, posture, gesture. Does the effort change during the session and how is that change related to the activity. For instance people will typically have smaller movements to start out with and as they become more comfortable their movements become larger. This happens whether the person is moving by feet/wheels through the space, or sitting tossing something or making gestures or changing their posture. I look at the whole body and don’t just observe/witness the active bits but also what the rest of the body is doing during the activity. For example is there a slight movement in the foot when tossing and is that from an old injury or a current muscle tightness or is it an emotional based issue.
If something comes up in a session that seems like it needs further exploration I might engage the client/patient in an activity that focuses on that “something”. If the left foot turns I might ask the person to focus on their feet when they toss or to make a sound. Or I might simply mention that I noticed you always turn your foot when you toss the stuffed animal and see what response the client/patient has.
The fun and useful part about being a Dance Movement Therapist is that you get to use verbal counseling skills and body counseling skills. The entire person is given a chance/opportunity to express with all of themselves, body and mind.
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.
Interesting post from Psych Central:
A study using a procedure called the “rubber hand illusion” has found new evidence that people experiencing schizophrenia have a weakened sense of body ownership.
It has also produced the first documented case of a spontaneous, out-of-body experience in the laboratory.
These findings suggest that movement therapy, which trains people to be focused and centered on their own bodies, including some forms of yoga and dance, could be helpful for many of the 2.2 million people in the United States who suffer from schizophrenia.