Thank you to Joanna, Leonarda, Alison and Ivy for all of your comments! For this post I decided to look into Alison’s suggestion, but I may come back and see what else I can find out about things that you are interested in!
For this post I will be exploring how dance and movement based therapy can improve participants emotional health.
Dance movement therapy (DMT) is different from just dancing. (4) DMT is the use of movement and dance psychotherapeutically to support intellectual, emotional and motor functions. It explores the idea that movement is a universal language and can be used creatively to express emotions and individual personality, and although it can improve physical health, exercise is not the main focus. (2,3,4) It typically takes place in metal health centres, rehabilitation centres, nursing homes, day care centres, disease prevention centres, and private practices it can occur in individual, couple, family and group settings. (2)
One of the activities that a movement therapist would use is called mirroring. Mirroring is when someone creates a movement and then someone else matches or repeats that movement. By repeating that persons movement, you are making them feel included, listened to and respected and are showing that you appreciate that person. (3)
Dance movement therapy has many different benefits. It can improve physical, cognitive, mental health and social issues such as chronic pain, cancer, dementia, anxiety, depression and autism, which would improve emotional health. (4) It has also been known to improve emotional, physical and cognitive integration, mood, self-esteem and reduce stress. (3)
One place where dance movement therapy is being practiced is The Palisades at Broadmoor Park Senior Residences. They offer a program called ‘Let’s Keep Moving.’ The program includes dance and creative movement to stimulate range of motion, balance and coordination. They use a technique called “signature movements” where a participant does a movement and the instructor mirrors the movement. At the end they do “instant choreography” where all of the participants watch and remember the others movements and then repeat them. Some benefits of this program have included personal growth, social connectivity, and physical improvements, and the participants were moving and feeling better. (1) Programs like this are extremely important and can improve the lives of many people.