What Is Dance Movement Psychotherapy?

By October 16, 2017Articles

Dance Movement Psychotherapy is defined as…

“The psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance through which a person can engage creatively in the process to further their emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration.’ 
– ADMP UK, 1977

Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) works with the fundamental principle, that our minds and bodies are interconnected. Core to DMP is the understanding our bodies communicate our lived experience of both our inner and outer worlds, and our movement & gestures reflect our personality. Movement expression instinctively demonstrates the way we think feel and relate to others.

Dance in its natural essence of free-form, non-scripted, not directed, allows for a vitality of spirit to move the body freely from within. Dance is innately an expression of our inner self, and by the way, it allows for a freedom of self in movement and outer expressivity. By exploring dance, movement and gestures, we can experience an embodied sense of ourselves in which we can communicate, explore and learn about ourselves and how we relate to others. Overall with DMP, we are trying to build a bridge to connect our thoughts and feelings, by acknowledging and understanding our body movements behaviour and our non-verbal communication.

Dance Movement Psychotherapy’s roots are in ancient healing dance that has been an integral part of most cultures and communities worldwide. Before dance was a professional art form, it was and still is a source of community expression used for community ritual, celebration, rights of passage and joy. The earliest records of dance used for therapeutic purposes are recorded in the nineteenth century but not significantly explored as a psychotherapeutic intervention until the 1970’s. Dance movement psychotherapy is now an established form of art psychotherapy practised around the world as both individual and group therapy in health, education, social services and private practice. Typical areas of practice include working with people challenged with:

  • Learning, Sensory & Physical disabilities
  • Emotional/ behavioural challenges
  • Autism
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Trauma

What to expect?

Dance Movement psychotherapy is inclusive as it is for everyone of all ages. No formal dance experience is necessary to participate. We use everyday movements, natural rhythms to communicate and free movement with movement props and music. Everyone dance within their natural repertoire and in their own time.

Sessions take place regularly on a weekly basis for the duration of work, and each session is 45 minutes. Clients require a referral form and an initial assessment period. Clients have found Dance Movement Psychotherapy has positively benefited them in the following way:

  • Can help put feelings into words
  • Creatively finding your voice
  • Enhance personal communication skills, self-exploration or self-understanding
  • Improved self-awareness, body-awareness and
  • Increased confidence in personal ability to express, explore and manage difficult feelings
  • Helps with relaxation and calmness
  • Being in and part of a supportive group
  • Mind, body, and spirit integration.

For further details and information on Dance Movement Psychotherapy, visit the DMP page, or contact Natasha Sackey MA RDMP or ADMP UK.

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