What is dance/movement therapy, anyway?
Updated: Aug 15, 2018
Learn more about how movement and letting the body speak can heal from within.
What is Dance/Movement Therapy?
Well, first of all, it doesn’t need to include pirouettes, leotards or jazz hands. Not at all. Unless you are into that kind of thing, in which case, I am totally down.
Dance/Movement Therapy, or DMT, uses the power of mindful witnessing of the body to reconnect us to our rich inner landscape. Through the therapeutic use of movement, DMT helps us to come home to our bodies, and to use our bodies’ wisdom and guidance to help us navigate life.
Since we would rather disconnect from the wounded parts of ourselves, it is likely that we are inhabiting our bodies in a dismembered and fragmented way. DMT uses attentive listening to our muscle tension, our habitual movement patterns and to our achey breaks hearts to help us re-member our way back to wholeness.
A typical session could look like this:
You and I are sitting talking about a situation in your life that is weighing heavy on you, and you spontaneously put your hand on your chest. You say something like, “I feel like I’ve had the wind knocked out of me.” Instead of asking you to explain that with more words, I pause our verbal processing and shift the focus of the therapy session to the sensation you are having in your chest.
We explore the sensation you are having through mindful attending, which you may do with your eyes closed, which may include naming physical sensations and describing them in detail, and which may also include some exploration of using your breath to explore your phrase of feeling like you’ve had the wind knocked out of you.
Depending on your comfort level, we may stay seated, we may stand or we may move around the space. That is totally up to you and to your body.
We will absolutely never engage in any movement that your body does not want to do. That would be totally defeating the point of our work, right?
After our movement exploration, we will return to verbal processing to help organize the sensations, images and rhythms elicited from your body-based experience. We will connect your embodied experience to concepts and ideas which were likely outside of your consciousness when we started our session.
Your biology is your biography and your body encodes every lived experience you have had on its cells. Together, we begin to give voice to your body, which has likely been silenced to some degree when you tried to avoid feeling discomfort. You will eventually feel more connected to your body, and more at home in your own skin.
We work together to access your body’s wisdom by meeting it on its own territory and deciphering its language.
Identifies and begins to unravel old patterns of addiction, fear and shame
Teaches us to attend to the silent wisdom of our intuition and physical sensations
Increases self-regulation and emotion regulation through inhabiting our bodies fully
Decreases the urge to run away from discomfort through increasing body-knowledge and self-compassion
Increases our trust in our own power and our own strength
Helps us attune better to others through a deeper connection to ourselves
Reconnects us to our creativity, spontaneity and joy
Increases self-confidence and improves body image