By Susan Finley, Ed.D., NCC
“The truest expression of a people is in its dances and its music. Bodies never lie.” –Agnes de Mille
Dance/Movement Therapy—(DMT) is the psychotherapeutic use of movement (a core component of dance) to promote emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual. Used as a treatment method for people of all ages and backgrounds, DMT can be taught individually, with couples or families, and in a group format. It is especially effective for individuals with developmental, medical, social, physical and psychological impairments (The American Dance Therapy Association ADTA).
How it Works: DMT is founded on the idea that motion and emotion are interconnected. People in treatment communicate conscious and unconscious feelings through dance, which allows a therapist to respond in kind. Dance therapists help people work on issues through the use of a “movement vocabulary” that is centered around physical expression instead of words.
In an interview with Dr. Charné Furcron, LPC, BC-DMT, BCC, ACS, the ADTA dance therapist shines light on the benefits of dance both personally and as an instructor:
Dancing soothed her soul, helping her grow into the fullness of herself. With healing dance as a foundation, Charné has engineered a life full of artistry, dance performance, teaching, therapy, and transformation for herself and the many others she has worked with (ADTA).
Benefits of DMT include an increase in self-esteem, body image, and insight into one’s behavior. It is also useful for stress reduction, disease prevention, and mood management. DMT has been shown to be an effective coping skill. Adding this skill to the toolbox of healthy coping strategies is particularly useful with clients who struggle with substance use and addiction.
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Susan Finley, Ed.D., NCC is an educator, published researcher, and social media consultant. She is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC) (e-therapy) and Suicide Prevention Instructor (QPR) under the National Board for Certified Counselors.