Role Of Psychotherapy In Dance Movement Therapy


By Raj Kumari Geetanjali
Many have regarded Dance Movement Therapy or Psychotherapy (known as DMT) as a psychotherapeutic tool in which we used movement and dance to explore, make sense of and express our feelings and thoughts. But the question is that how can we find out the role of psychotherapy in DMT in a way so that people understand in an easy way. Let us see the nature of psychotherapy in dance movement psychotherapy. In order to know the nature of psychotherapy we need to understand the meaning of psychotherapy first.

Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental disorder by any of various means involving communication between a trained person and the patient. These include, but are not limited to suggestions, counseling, psychoanalysis, and so forth. Psychotherapy or personal counseling with a psychotherapist is an intentional interpersonal relationship used by trained psychotherapists to aid a client or patient in problems of living.

There are various aims of psychotherapy. The principal aim of psychotherapy is not to transport one to an unattainable state of perpetual happiness, but to help the client acquire steadfastness and patience in the face of suffering. It aims to increase the individual`™s sense of her own well-being and also to restore the mental capacities of the person so that they are in touch with reality and with their own particular place in society. It is hoped that by encouraging the patient to see the world as it is, and not as the person in therapy, he or she will be able to cope with the day to day problems they encounter.

Techniques of Psychotherapy
Psychotherapists employ a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behavior change that are designed to improved the mental health of a patient, or to improve group relationships (such as in a family).

Psychotherapy is also performed by practitioners with a number of different qualifications, including psychiatry, clinical psychology, clinical social work, counseling psychology, mental health counseling, clinical or psychiatric social work, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, music therapy, art therapy, drama therapy, dance/movement therapy, occupational therapy, psychiatric nursing and other forms of psychotherapies.

Understanding Dance Movement Psychotherapy
DMT is a form of psychotherapy where movement and dance is used to explore our feelings and thoughts. It is based on the idea that the way we move is linked to the way we think. By exploring our movement, we will learn more about ourself. This will helps us to explore different options and make choices in our day to day life. DMT also help us to connect with our body in a deeper way and integrate our physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual self, for DMT helps to develop and enjoy the joy of dance and self expression, giving us positive body awareness, co-ordination, creativity and communication.
According to the Association of Dance Movement Therapy, UK, DMT is defined as `the psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance through which a person can engage creative in the process to further their emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration. The American Dance Therapy Association also defines it as `the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process that furthers the physical and psychic integration of an individual`.

Techniques of DMT
Different techniques are used by different therapists in order to bring out or make aware of what our bodies can do in changing our minds. DMT mainly focuses on creativity, the body mind relationship, non-verbal communication, interpersonal relationships and personal change. According to the well known British practitioner, Bonnie Meekums, DMT as a creative act follows a process with four stages: preparation, incubation, illumination and evaluation.

The processes of DMT are quite similar even though application of the activities may be different. The preparation includes a warm up phase, which can be in different styles. Incubation is a process stage where different activities with theme or without theme are included. Here, individuals use spontaneous movements of their own. It also includes improvisation and symbolic movement, which need a willingness by the client to communicate personal and complex material to the therapist. Illumination is the stage at which meanings become apparent. The raw physical expression of emotion during incubation resonates with the sense-making of illumination which can involve dramatic revelations for the client about the meaning of either their movements or old pattern of behavior. It may include a reappraisal of experience, a sense that a corner has been turned. Evaluation is a grounding process. In this stage, client and therapist may discuss together the significance of the therapeutic process in the client`™s life. Evaluation involves relating what was learned in a day`™s session and in the therapy as a whole to the client`™s life outside the therapy room.

DMT helps people of all different ages and situations. DMT can address many issues including stress, anxiety, depression, difficulty with communication and expression, feelings of being out of control, trauma related problems, or dealing with life changes.

Benefits of DMT
DMT helps in increasing self awareness, self esteem, having a deeper sense of connection between thoughts, feelings and actions, improving verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction skills, developing a trusting relationship, increasing ability to recognize feelings, making sense of them and expressing them appropriately.

DMT may be meaningful not only for persons with different problems but also for everyone. With DMT people become conscious of their bodies, which make them aware of their feelings through sensation. Dance, movement and sensation contribute to the integration of body and mind building self-esteem and self identity. Identifying our body also makes us aware of wrong postures and less used parts of our bodies; and can redirect these parts to bring them into functional patterns. DMT can also lead us to study our bodies by which one can observe the contractions, cramps and mis-alignment of body parts. This helps to change the movement of the body. Change the movement of the bodies it correspondingly changes the function of our minds too. In this way we can re-establish the normal function or movement of each body part, transforming them to operate effectively. Dance has its own transformation healing process. Our physical movements have links with our inner experience and dance movement effects change on our life by developing and increasing the relationship of the body, the imagination and the emotions. Thus, this enhanced relationship increases our ability to adapt and to respond to our environment, and realize that this is the natural body language.
(The author is a Dance Movement Therapist at the H2H Human to Humane Transcultural Centre for Trauma and Torture, Lamphelpat, Manipur. She may be contacted at [email protected])


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here