Dance Therapy Association of Australia

Jennifer Helmich

Jennifer Helmich – Bio


Edition:

Prof. Member DTAA, Dip DMT IDTIA, MA Creative Arts in Therapy, PACFA registered, accredited grief and loss counsellor, midwife and practising maternal and child health nurse. Helmich is experienced in working in a psychiatric outpatients clinic dealing with a wide range of psychiatric disorders. She specialises in trauma, with women who have experienced early childhood abuse and with clients who have experienced life threatening accidents or health issues. She is a faculty member of IDTIA’s three year training in Dance Movement-Therapy.

Dance Movement Therapy with Adults who experienced sexual abuse in childhood: the early phase of recovery


Edition: Dance Therapy Collections 2

Keywords: traumatic stress, Dance Movement Therapy, childhood sexual abuse, safety, effectiveness, mastery, control

Page #: 45

This paper describes dance movement therapy with adults who experience post traumatic stress. It focuses on the first phase of trauma recovery ‘the establishment of safety in the body’ and describes how this provides a therapeutic foundation, which can lead to re-experiencing and transforming traumatic memory. Illustrations are presented from the case studies of two women who experienced sexual abuse in childhood.

Chronic emotional numbing or alexithymia acquired secondary to trauma: a movement and dance therapeutic model


Edition: Dance Therapy Collections 1

Keywords: Dance movement therapy, Alexithymia, trauma, Laban movement analysis, symbolic expression, empathy, verbalization, affect differentiation

Page #: 35

The author presents a model for a dance movement therapeutic program proposed to assist clients suffering from Alexithymia resulting from trauma, literally translated as being ‘without words for feelings’. These clients also experience ‘paucity of fantasy and symbolic functioning’ and have difficulty being empathetic with others. Helmich proposes a program that draws on Laban movement analysis to develop a client’s capacity for symbolic movement and subsequently ability to differentiate, and ‘organise this experience into a verbal form’. She offers four charts, which specifically outline four clear program goals including specific interventions and associated hypotheses. The four key areas for development are as follows: tolerance of feeling, affect differentiation, verbalisation and development of empathy.

One man’s experience of accessing and transforming embodied traumatic memory: a dance therapy study


Edition: Dance Therapy Collections 3

Keywords

dance movement therapy, phenomenology, emotion, embodiment and childhood trauma

Page #: 86

This article is based on a phenomenological study of one man’s experience of accessing feeling and emotion through movement, image and dialogue. The traumatic childhood that was the basis for John’s experience is identified and the phenomenological threads of John’s experience are woven together with reference to dance therapy, embodiment and trauma theory.