Movement Therapy

What is Movement Therapy?

Movement therapy “is the psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance to support intellectual, emotional, and motor functions of the body.”1c.

1c. Ekman, S.-L.; Palo Bengtsson, L. and Winblad, B.; Ekman, S.-L. (1998). “Social Dancing: A Way to Support Intellectual, Emotional and Motor Functions in Persons with Dementia”. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 6. 5 (6): 545–554.

How does Movement Therapy work?

As quoted in Karkou et al.3c, “Dance Movement Therapy shares with the other arts therapies similar overall therapeutic approaches, namely humanistic, psychodynamic, developmental, artistic/creative, active/directive, and eclectic/integrative therapeutic approaches.” The authors go on to say, “Arguments can be made regarding dance (movement) participation due to physiological responses associated with exercise such as the excretion of endorphins, the enhancement of chemical neurotransmitters (Jola and Calmeiro, 2017) and the active engagement of almost every part of the brain (Bläsing, 2017).”

Who is Movement Therapy for?

Movement Therapy is for people of all ages, with or without mental health issues. Some ideas about who would benefit, but not limited to:

  • early childhood traumas that have affected a child’s ability to effectively coordinate motor skills
  • children and teens with mental or physical disabilities
  • children and teens who are shy, lack confidence or have identity issues
  • children , teens and adults who find it difficult to form and have relationships with others. Movement therapy introduces techniques that encourage openness and drive relationships
  • clients whose body language appears negative
  • clients with perceived body image issues
  • elderly, ill or palliative patients who are stressed, non-communicative or with dementia. Particularly good when also
    used with music therapy.
Who delivers Movement Therapy?

The Dance Movement Therapy Association of Australasia (DTAA) is the recognised professional body for dance movement therapy in Australasia. To practise, the therapist must be registered with DTAA; or practitioners must have completed Advanced Clinical Training (ACT) in Dance-Movement Therapy from The International Dance Therapy Institute of Australia Inc (IDTIA)

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