Dance Movement Therapy

What it is, How it is done, to Whom and Why

Dance Therapy is a practice that has its roots in the Art of Dance as a human expressive and communicative heritage. Throughout human history, dance is ubiquitous, even continents apart. In the culture of India, the world was born from a Cosmic Dance, Shiva recalls the figure of the Shaman, with his healing tools he fights against the vritti that prevent humanity from evolving and reconnecting to the consciousness from which it came. There is no gesture without its own meaning and effect. Through Art and Relationship, I believe I can guide in the discovery of one's own dance to support the quality of life of the person and the community.
The Shaman, Artist and Healer, through symbols, sounds, dances and rituals is present in cultures ranging from Eastern Europe to South America and in many territories of the East. Our ancestors have always danced : to relate to the elements of Nature and Spirit; to find healing, comfort, a sense of identity and belonging; to celebrate collective and individual moments of passage; to give thanks for the gifts of life; and to prepare for the internal and external struggles to be faced.
In contemporary culture, we all know by now the necessity and importance of moving, the positive effects for our whole body-mind system, even by simply playing sports. To move following one's own internal rhythm, or guided by music with which we resonate, to give visible form to one's images, to experience new ways of moving and thus one feels and thinks, (DMT's impressionistic quality) to bring into the dance with the other self, all whole, body, mind and heart, to let one's personal dances emerge and then share them,(DMT's expressive quality) is definitely a more fulfilling experience.
In our contemporary and global world, more than ever before, Art and presence in one's body dimension is a privileged path to health. Health is not the absence of illness, but presence to oneself, it is listening skills, integration of intuition and instinct, deep contact with our existence as belonging to Nature.

DMT provides a space for vitality and physical well-being by increasing motor skills, helps to release psycho-physical tension, enriches people’s ability to express and recognize their emotions,
all of which affects confidence and self-esteem, and encourages creativity and imagination.
From childhood to old age, Dance Movement Therapy meets everyone, with countless dedicated tools: it supports functional growth processes and learning abilities, empowering and enhancing everyone’s uniqueness; it accompanies moments of crisis, change, transition, teaching how to dance them, how to flow with the changing form; it expands the possibilities of relationship, defining the boundaries between me and the world to enable healthy and nurturing relationships.

Dance therapy has a rich and established reputation as a healing practice in the face of psychological and psychic problems; it does not replace a more traditional course of psychotherapy, but supports it by complementing and deepening it. In the presence of handicaps and syndromes, it allows a recovery of the joy of one’s corporeality by enhancing confidence by valuing the resources present. DMT is practiced both individually and in groups, with any category of person and developmental age. Individual space is sometimes needed at certain times in life when structured time is needed according to personal needs.

If practiced and modulated in the manner appropriate to age, psycho-physical condition and present needs, it can be practiced by anyone with positive results, the basis being in the experience of the DMt(s) leading it.
However, the group also supports individual processes, thanks to the encounter with other worlds, with which it is possible to confront but also to learn even better to define one’s physical, emotional and mental boundaries. Being able to recognize and shape significant moments in our lives, of joy, transformation…but also of pain, loss and rebirth is the way to the power to flow with existence, welcoming what life offers us and discovering the meaning of our journey.

First dance and then reflect. This is the natural sequence.

Samuel Beckett

DMT and Behavioral Science.

These two fields are seen, at a superficial acquaintance, as very distant.In the reality of my experience, I have always found in Cognitivism [1] and behavior studies, many similarities with the practice of DMT.
Active observation, adapting body shapes, modeling in movement, amplifying and mirroring, which are cornerstones of DMT – Apid, find interesting points of encounter and comparison with some typical procedures of Behavioral Rehabilitation. For example, in a therapeutic relationship, acceptance and the
creation of a space of trust and encounter, in which alternative ways of “moving” may also be proposed to follow, may find common points with the ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) methodology of pairing, which precedes whatever type of functional behavior one wishes to teach the person, as an alternative to dysfunctional behavior that is therefore ineffective for the satisfaction of one’s needs and the possibility of entering into a relationship with the world.

In DMT, imitation, amplification, mirroring (all methodologies that speak to the person’s neuro-psychic system)[2] refer to “Transformational Dances” that involve changing the way we move through life, starting with the body:
if I move/act in a new way, I will have new sensations/feelings
to which will be connected new ways of thinking/considering/dealing with life events.
All this will eventually lead to
– new behaviors, or at least to be able to choose to act in a way that was not previously contemplated.
These thoughts, which certainly require further study, led me to certify with the Behavioural Analyst Certification Board (BCBA) as a Registered Behavioural Technician (RBT).

Having the tools and the timely
methods of data collection and processing that come from this approach, is something that allows me to enrich and improve my work as a Dmt , give value and even further consistency to the results of a process of rehabilitation and improvement of the person’s quality of life.

Another relevant aspect, is the possibility to compare and collaborate with colleagues and public and private facilities, who are more familiar with the Behaviorism model and less familiar with the DMT model.
Of course there are many data collection tools in DMT, but the inclusion of the tools developed over time by Behavior Studies, especially in working with specificclient populations, in a certain time fo their developmental age, are, in my professional experience, reliable and consistent.
It is always best to have many kinds of arrows in one’s quiver…..

[1] Google
[2]Rizzolati, G. e Sinigaglia, C. So quel che fai. Il Cervello che agisce e i Neuroni Specchio, Scienza e Idee, 2006.

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