What is DMT?
Dance/movement therapy (DMT) is defined by the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual, for the purpose of improving health and well-being. Created in the 1940s, DMT is a holistic approach to healing based on the empirically supported assertion that mind, body, and spirit are inseparable and interconnected; changes in the body reflect changes in the mind and vice versa.
How does it work?
Dance Movement Therapists contend that movement was humankind’s first language. Movement is functional, communicative, and expressive. Movement Therapy can be a catalyst for deeper healing for those who may have a difficult time with verbal communication. Also, for those who may find “going to therapy” difficult, movement often can be a precursor to deeper processing and profound awareness of self and others. The Movement Therapist notes one’s relationship to SPACE, TIME, FORCE, BODY, FORM, and BALANCE to assist in goal setting and treatment planning.
Elements of DMT:
Session Makeup: Greeting, Warmup, Release, Theme, Centering and Closure.
Members/clients explore in small or large groups, individually, as well as observe
other members in the group. Observing activates mirror neurons in the brain, which help to build kinesthetic empathy, connection, and self-actualization.
- Mirroring: Helps to establish non-verbal relationships between group members and member(s) and counselor. Initiates trust.
- Attunement: Similar to Mirroring, it promotes empathy by responding and holding space for another group member’s experience.
- Integrative Development: Counselors develop and work through a client’s developmental phases through movement. The process can help the client progress through mental roadblocks, regressions, and delays in their development and personal relationships.
- Authentic Movement: This can be an exploration of regressed movement, starting from the beginning, so to speak, as an infant to connect to missed developmental stages, or it can be the allowance of free movement, which is the door to our emotions, traumas, memories, and allowance to be our true selves.
Who is DMT for?
DMT has been proven to benefit those with:
– Autism Spectrum Disorder
– Mood Disorders
All populations can benefit from Dance Movement Therapy. Dance Movement Therapy helps with interpersonal, cognitive, and psychomotor skills. DMT increases general quality of life and can be beneficial for those with or without pathology.
Hackney, P. (1998). Making Connections: Total body integration through Bartenieff Fundamentals. New York.