Dance Therapy

1850 words 8 pages
Dance therapy is a type of psychotherapy that uses movement to further the social, cognitive, emotional, and physical development of the individual. Dance therapists work with people who have many kinds of emotional problems, intellectual deficits, and life-threatening illnesses. They are employed in psychiatric hospitals, day care centers, mental health centers, prisons, special schools, and private practice. They work with people of all ages in both group and individual therapy. Some also engage in research.
Dance therapists try to help people develop communication skills, a positive self-image, and emotional stability.


Dance therapy began as a profession in the 1940s with the work of Marian Chace. A modern dancer, she
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The moves are supposed to emerge from a deep level within the patient.
In Freudian technique, dance therapists work with patients to uncover feelings hidden deep in the subconscious by expressing those feelings through dance.
In object relations technique, the therapist often helps the patient examine problems in his or her life by considering the primary initial relationship with the parents. Emotions are expressed in a concrete, physical way. For instance, a patient would work out his fears of abandonment by repeatedly coming close to and dancing at a distance from the therapist.
Dance therapists sometimes use other types of therapy along with dance, such as art or drama. Therapists also discuss what happens during a dancing session by spending time in "talk therapy." Dance therapists use visualizations during sessions, too. For example, the therapist might instruct patients to imagine they are on a beautiful, peaceful beach as they dance.
In one frequently used technique, the therapist mirrors the movements of the patient as he or she expresses important emotions. This is especially powerful in private one-on-one therapy. It is thought that this device provides a sense of safety and validates the patient's emotions.
The underlying premise


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