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Dance therapy, or dance movement therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance for emotional, cognitive, social, behavioral and physical conditions. Dance movement therapy strengthens the body/mind connection through body movements to improve both the mental and physical well-being of individuals. As a form of expressive therapy, DMT is founded on the basis that movement and emotion are directly related. The ultimate purpose of DMT is to find a healthy balance and sense of wholeness.
Since its birth in the 1940s, DMT has gained much popularity and has been taken to more serious and beneficial levels. Over the years, the practices of DMT have progressed, however, the main principles that founded this form of therapy have remained the same. Influenced by the “main principles” of this therapy, most DMT sessions are configured around four main stages: preparation, incubation, illumination, and evaluation. Organizations such as the American Dance Therapy Association and the Association for Dance Movement Therapy, United Kingdom maintain the high standards of profession and education throughout the field. DMT is practiced in places such as mental health rehabilitation centers, medical and educational settings, nursing homes, day care facilities, and other health promotion programs.This form of therapy which is taught in a wide array of locations goes farther than just centering the body. Specialized treatments of DMT can help cure and aid many types of diseases and disabilities. Other common names for DMT include: movement psychotherapy and dance therapy
The theory of DMT is based upon the idea that “the body and mind are inseparable”.
“Dance movement therapy rests on certain theoretical principles. These are:
- Body and mind interact, so that a change in movement will affect total functioning
- Movement reflects personality
- The therapeutic relationship is mediated at least to some extent non-verbally, for
- Movement contains a symbolic function and as such can be evidence of unconscious process
- Movement improvisation allows the client to experiment with new ways of being
- DMT allows for the recapitulation of early object relationships by virtue of the largely non-verbal mediation of the latter”
The Creative Process
The creative process has four stages, which occur during DMT. Each stage contains a smaller set of goals which correlate to the larger purpose of DMT. The stages and goals of DMT vary with each individual. Although the stages are progressive, the stages are usually revisited several times throughout the entire DMT process. The four stages are:Preparation: the warm-up stage, safety is establishedIncubation: relaxed, let go of conscious control, movements become symbolicIllumination: meanings become apparent, can have positive and negative effectsEvaluation: discuss significance of the process, prepare to end therapy