Dance and movement therapy goes beyond field of psychotherapy into the field of somatic therapies. It is very suitable for people of difficulties arising in the early stages of development, for those who express themselves better through movement and body, and for those for who unconscious conflicts complicate other somatic difficulties. Very close to these kinds of therapies are usually people with advanced creativity in other fields of art.
During the dance and movement therapy can be unconsciously induced physical reactions leading to association of earlier events and their new experiencing. Man can associate ones experienced feelings and feelings associated with certain events and can experience them again, which can lead to improvement of their awareness and psychological relief. Dance therapy accepts the fact that mind and body are part of one and the same world, and it is focusing on physical change. Better understanding of your body and its signals allows any individual to broaden their horizon of movements, he learns new moves, and he also opened the new ways in life – he can internalize the experience that has the opportunity to make a choice. Body and its movements are expressive means of expressing thoughts and feelings. Between dance as an art, creative dance and dance movement therapy are some differences. Of course, even dancing, just as sport can also have therapeutic effects, but it is not about the systematic associating of unconscious and conscious experience.
Movement is the very foundation of human existence, the dance again helps to harmonize the movements and express emotions. Gestures, movements, dance, these are all means to share experiences and make contact with others. Dancing has always been part of the rituals, trying to structuring and explaining life and brought a sense of tribal belonging. Rhythms and collective movement in the group endowed the power and unity, reassurance and relaxation. Dance uses the unity of the body-mind-spirit, so it get in touch with the deepest feelings and experiences, painful and joyful, therefore dance allows deep experience and empathy with others. Dance and movement therapy combines modern dance, expressive dance, movement, and psychotherapy. This method began to develop primarily in the period after World War 2 in the USA. The first dance therapists were professional dancers who began to collaborate with physicians and psychiatrists in hospitals. For the main figures of dance and movement therapy are considered Marian Chace and Franziska Boas, who started among the first to benefit from a dance movement as a therapeutic method.
Effects of dance therapy and movement therapy
The process of dance and movement therapy takes place in a non-verbal level, the movement becomes a means of expression, and people can bury oneself into the process very deeply. It is based on creative improvisation and unconscious movement associations, whether they are individual or group movement and dance therapy. Expression concept, which is in addition relieved with some game, is the possibility of reliving a symbolic interpreting of nonverbal experience.
Movement is associated with emotions and feelings and has the ability to bring people together. Movement and dance promotes the sharing of emotions, sharing of collective experience of an anger, enables the realization that everyone sometimes feel anger and it is possible to express it anyway, without being a destructive to others or even to themselves. Human emotions can be provoked in the group to the summit, which cannot be reached under other circumstances, because the group gives support. Of this fact were aware our ancestors, tribal dances, and rhythmic activity were used to induce cohesion - group cohesion, it leads to the release of isolation with emotional experiences and the overall it increases ability to go beyond their normal limit. The completion of a topic, which is in movement or dance therapy opened or begins to solve, you can use other means and you clarify the process by using drawings or sound. Accept responsibility for the movement means taking responsibility for ourselves in space, for our being in movement and for our feelings that one experiences during this process.
Objectives of movement and dance therapy
Dance and movement therapy in the primary prevention is not treatment itself, the main objectives of this area are mainly self-knowledge and personal development, releasing of creativity, relaxation, balancing of stressful lifestyles, and it leads to the continued improvement of relations and enhancement of professional skills.
Dance and movement therapy as a therapeutic means have three main target objectives.
1. Objectives on physical level
This is the reintegration of mental and physical aspects of human emotional experience. These targets include the activation, increase motivation, support healthy formation of body image, support organization of the move, or at least mitigate of disorganization or extension of musculoskeletal, making new authentic, adaptive possibilities and ways of interacting with our environment.
2. Improving interpersonal functioning
For this purpose, is the best suited the group form of dance and movement therapy. Each member of the group has the opportunity to offer their own expressive movement, the group then repeats this movement. This event provides a sense of personal importance and autonomy, while those who offer the move are getting feedback from the group, the group provides them with a kind of "mirror". Those who are following the movement are improving non-verbal empathy. Creation of collective movement also supports cooperation in the group. Develops learning by imitation, sense of appurtenance and, a sense of changing roles etc.
3. Making emotional issues accessible and their expression
In this case, the therapists are working with emotionally important issues, which are based on creating a safe environment. The base is a group movement, fancy images, symbols, metaphors and so on. The clients are in non-judgmental space where they can express, with the help of symbols and metaphors, their emotions, which they cannot normally express.
In dance and movement therapy is dance is perceived as a joyful and relaxing activity that allows experience routinely repressed emotions. Movement is never evaluated as good or bad, it is not necessary to have physical training. Important is the experience of movement and dance itself, it is an individual expression of individual freedom, movement and dance releases joy, facilitates the perception of rhythm and energy. Dance therapists use their knowledge, skills, creativity, and spontaneity to allow others to experience themselves on the level of bodily sensations and impulses. The therapist must be aware of their movement vocabulary, their reactions and the messages and impulses that his body sends. Role of the therapist is active, but based on the needs of groups or individuals, rather than the needs of the therapist. The therapist must be prepared for any contingency, because it is a sensitive method, which is closely connected with emotionality. He must be prepared for possible appearance of anger, hostility, aloofness, apathy.
In therapy, there are also times when the therapist does not engage too much. He becomes rather observer. The rate of verbalization and interpretation is different, motion-controlled experienced levels is a relatively broad quantity. The actual approach depends partly on the therapist and his way of working, and secondly on the client itself, to his age, experience, objectives, or even on his malfunctions or disability.
Psychological and physiological principles of dance therapy
The human body has its own memory, it is a source of learning and responses. Learning is linked with an understanding of how our body responds to stress, conflict, and everyday situations. Body image can be developed with the help of motion, which refers to experiencing emotion and emotional memory. Process of dance therapy or movement therapy give us to experience catharsis, during this therapy is released psychological stress, and it also allows to express blocked or repressed and subsequently masked feelings and experiences. Motion pattern and style is an expression of how individuals adapt to conditions of outside world and his experience of the world in the space around him, it also testifies on how he is adapted to the life forces and how he is able to control them. Movement can come into contact with a source of emotional limitations and gives the opportunity to explore new and even more satisfactory ways of behaviour.
For whom is a dance and movement therapy meant?
Dance therapy and movement therapy is intended for anyone interested in the process of self-discovery and personal development. It is beneficial for clients who suffer from various psychosomatic problems, especially for those who have difficulty with verbal expressing, for those who suffer from depressive, anxiety, have problems with self-confidence, self-image, and difficulty in communicating.
What is going on during the workshop of dance (or movement) therapy and what to be prepared on?
Workshops for dance and movement therapy are usually held in small groups in spaces suitable for such therapy. After a welcome and stretching usually comes warm-up part of therapy, where the attention is focused not only on the body but also on relationships. The beginning of such therapy or lesson may resemble the beginning of some dance classes. It begins with stretching, which is followed by "beating out" the limbs, and testing the functions of isolated parts of body. The rhythm is gradually changing, and the participants are going through the various levels of energies.
Initiating contact with each client starts usually so that the therapist responds to the movement patterns of the client, he adapts to him or her his own movement pattern. Simple rhythmic movements of the hands, feet, and head or shoulder not only help to ensure coordination, but it also helps express directly the emotions and feelings of the client, which are at the moment happening. A person can physically experience any emotion - frustration, anger, fear, and shame - all that implies a corresponding muscle tension, posture, gestures, and position of the whole body. Heating is suitable for the therapist, because he has the opportunity to assess the key issues, and needs of individuals and groups as a whole. Compared to verbal expression, where we are limited with terminology, physical expression does not have so obvious limitations. The movement is a spontaneous expression and usually with ongoing time, the therapy is becoming more intensive, the experiencing is more relaxed, but also often energetic. The energy, power, and speed are changing. Experience comes from the movement, everyone deduce his private meanings in the given moment. Ideas for individual actions come of therapist's pulses or pulses of the individual group members. Everyone should have enough space to express himself or herself.
At the end comes the lull of the pace, the intensity of the movements is reduced, the group gathers again. The final phase is important to clarify the boundaries, for evaluating of the perception of the integrity of the own body and the perception of the experience of sharing. Movement allows a symbolic expression of thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It helps where for various reasons are not available words.
The basis of these methods is the idea of harmony between the physical and mental processes and their interconnectivity and suggestibility. The therapist focuses on the human body scheme and examines the physical behaviour of clients, with his leadership and subtle interventions, he support the process of development. Everything takes place primarily on a nonverbal level, but also adequate verbalization can support the process. The feedback from other group members also helps. Motion process may also be explained through drawings and sounds. The error is accessible. Take responsibility for the movement, as well as for a wrong movement, means taking responsibility for yourself in motion as well as for the feelings that one experiences.