Dance and movement therapy helps to improve one´s emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration through the possibilities offered by movement and dance. The underlying principle of dance therapy is that movement reflects individual thought, emotional and communication patterns. Dance and movement therapy process focuses on restoring and fostering of the clients´ physical and spiritual wellbeing through influencing their psychosomatic state by natural means. Participation in dance and movement therapy presuposses the wish and interest in moving and doesn´t presuppose any previous experience in the field of dance or movement – even breathing and walking is already movement and dance. Different means supporting the creative process and self-expression (scarves, different balls, elastic textiles, and also rhythm and music) are often used in dance and movement therapy.
The main distinctive feature here is discovering and shaping one´s possibilities of movement. Movement may have stimulating and replenishing or structuring and limiting effect. Direct experience of body in a room serves as the basis for the analysis of one´s relationship and behaviour patterns and resources.
Additional reading and research:
Koch, S. C., & Bräuninger, I. (2006). International Dance/Movement Therapy Research: Recent Findings and Perspectives. American Journal of Dance Therapy , 28 (2), 127-136.
Burkhardt, J., & Brennan, C. (2012). The effects of recreational dance interventions on the health and well- being of children and young people: A systematic review. Arts & Health , 1-14. Routledge. doi:10.1080/17533015.2012.665810
Bojner Horwitz, E., Kowalski, J., Theorell, T., & Anderberg, U. (2006). Dance/movement therapy in fibromyalgia patients: Changes in self-figure drawings and their relation to verbal self-rating scales. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 33 , 11-25. doi: 10.1016/j.aip.2005.05.004
Sandel, S. L, Judge, J. O., Landry, N., Faria, L., Ouellette, R., & Majczak, M. (2005). Dance and movement program improves quality-of-life measures in breast cancer survivors. Cancer Nursing, 28 , 301-309. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16046894
Earhart, G. M. (2009). Dance as therapy for individuals with Parkinson disease. EuropeanJjournal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine , 45 (2), 231-238. Retrieved from http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2780534&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract