Psychological principles in dance therapy

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Dance therapy is based on several psychological principles.  These include:

  • Trauma and other emotional issues are often “trapped” or held in the body, manifesting themselves in a variety of ways including chronic pain, somatic complaints, restricted movement, and muscle tension
  • Both physical and mental health are impacted (in both positive and negative ways) by the body’s current state
  • Both personality and unconscious processes are reflected in dance and movement
  • Recurrent themes can be identified via expressive movement
    The mind and body are interconnected; treating them together rather than separately helps facilitate healing
  • Improvised dance and spontaneous movement allow giving individuals an opportunity to explore different ways of being
  • A substantial part of any therapy is non-verbal; dance therapy provides a perfect opportunity for non-verbal expression, particularly when verbal expression is severely hindered (e.g. due to cognitive decline or severe trauma)


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