Dance Movement Therapy

Dance movement therapy participants

Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) is a therapy which uses dance to treat physical as well as mental disorders. DMT originated in the USA and later spread to Europe and Asia. The pioneers and propagators of this therapy were Marian Chace, Blanch Evan, Trudi Schoop and Mary Whitehouse. Tripura Kashyap and Dr Sohini Chakraborty (who has a Ph.D. in DMT from Tata Institute of Social Sciences) introduced it to India.

Most people know that dancing is beneficial for health; it’s good exercise, it helps boost a person’s mood, and people just enjoy it. DMT, however, takes dancing to another level altogether.

While you dance, DMT therapists assess your body language, non-verbal behaviour and the emotional expressions expressed during your dance, and then suggest remedial actions, which may include:

Mirroring: Here the instructor “mirrors” the person’s movements, to illustrate empathy and help them understand what they are going through.
Jumping Rhythms: Research has shown decreased levels of vertical movement in people with depression, and jumping improves this.
Props: The therapist may give the person a white flag, to help them experience an emotional surrender.

A study from the journal, The Arts in Psychotherapy, found that Dance Movement Therapy had a positive effect on participants experiencing symptoms of depression. Alzheimer’s Care Today reported that DMT can directly improve memory recall in people with dementia.

Who can benefit from DMT?

DMT can be beneficial for people of all ages who are suffering from physical as well as mental disorders.

Physical issues: Chronic pain, childhood obesity, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, etc.
Mental Health issues: Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, poor self-esteem, post-traumatic stress.
Social issues: Autism, aggression, domestic violence trauma, social interaction, family conflicts.

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Noel Keymer
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Noel Keymer

Noel Keymer is an ex-RJ AIR & 93.5 RED FM, who now lectures on Radio & Communication to post-graduates at leading colleges. He is also a freelance writer and author who has written and published four books; the latest, an e-book Dal Bhat for the Indian Soul.