Dance Movement Therapy and Trauma: How the Two are Connected
Dance movement therapy (DMT) is a type of expressive therapy that uses the power of movement and dance to promote emotional, social, physical, and mental well-being. Dance movement therapy is an emerging field in Australia, but it has shown promise in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including trauma. In this post, we'll explore the connection between dance movement therapy and trauma, and how this type of therapy can be used to assist people who have experienced traumatic events.
The Relationship Between Dance Movement Therapy and Trauma
Dance movement therapy is based on the belief that the body and mind are connected—and that by using movement to express oneself, one can improve their mental state. This is especially true for those who have experienced trauma. Trauma often leads to feelings of disconnection from one's body, as well as feelings of shame, guilt, and powerlessness. Dance movement therapy can help to heal this disconnection and promote a sense of empowerment and control.
Dance movement therapy has also been shown to be helpful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One study found that 96% of participants who received dance movement therapy reported a decrease in PTSD symptoms after just 12 sessions. Participants also reported improvements in depression, anxiety, and emotional regulation. Another study found that dance movement therapy was more effective than standard cognitive behavioral therapy in reducing flashbacks, night terrors, and intrusive thoughts related to PTSD.
How Dance Movement Therapy Helps Those Who Have Experienced Trauma
There are many theories as to why dance movement therapy is so effective in treating trauma. One theory is that the act of moving one's body can help to release trapped emotions and memories. When these emotions and memories are released, they no longer have the same hold over an individual. Another theory is that dance movement therapy helps to rewire the brain by creating new neural pathways. This can help to change negative thought patterns and behaviours associated with trauma.
Dance movement therapy is a promising treatment for those who have experienced trauma. If you or someone you know has been affected by trauma, consider speaking to a qualified dance movement therapy professional about how this type of therapy could help.