Dance Therapy Association of Australia

Dance Therapy Collections 1

Editors: Robyn Rawson & Elizabeth Loughlin, Melbourne: Ausdance (1992)

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Abstracts:

Becoming a Separate Person

Keywords: Mahler, separation, individuation, creative dance, parent-infant, early childhood development

Page #: 1

This article focuses on Mahler’s theories regarding the infant’s processes of ‘separation’ and ‘individuation from their primary caregiver, examined in the setting of a parent and child creative dance class as patterns of motility, distancing and rejoining. She discusses key sub-phases that a toddler moves through including initial differentiation, autonomous exploration and a ‘rapprochement’ phase in which the toddlers attention is redirected to his mother (Mahler, Pine and Bergman, 1975:4). Loughlin discusses the implications of these phases for an infant dance class, and important considerations for dance teachers and therapists.

Being

Keywords: Winnicott, good-enough mother, potential space, mirroring, mother-baby dance, holding environment,

Page #: 4

This article discusses D.W. Winnicot’s seminal concepts regarding development of a sense of self for both the infant and mother, and implications of these for mother and baby dance groups. The article describes the process of mirroring and identification that occurs between mother and baby and possibilities for supporting this process through dance therapy. The concept of potential space is also described as located both in time and place, in which babies are supported to safely transition to a sense of self as separate from other.

Mothers with Post-Partum Disorders and Their Babies

Keywords: post-partum psychiatric disorder, mother-baby dance, puerperal disorder, bonding, self-confidence, maternal knowledge

Page #:7

This article offers a brief description of a weekly ‘Move and Play’ group, run for mothers with a puerperal disorder and their babies admitted to a mother and baby unit in a psychiatric hospital. The group is offered by an occupational therapist as part of a more comprehensive multi-disciplinary group program. Specific interventions and considerations for therapeutic practice are shared with a focus on improving parent-child bonding, and maternal wellbeing including self-esteem, parenting knowledge and mothering skills.

The Internal Dance

Keywords: creative dance, pre-natal, mother-child relationship, yoga, massage, relaxation, self-awareness

Page #: 10

In this article, Ostraburski describes her classes for expectant mothers in which ‘the mother and developing baby are offered an early opportunity to make an internal journey of discovery. This is both a creative and therapeutic experience.’ Fran describes the phases of pregnancy and approaches she has taken in providing a program designed to be fulfilling within physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual realms. Strategies described include selection of music, choice of aesthetics and techniques such as massage and yoga.

Dance Movement Therapy for the Autistic Child

Keywords: Dance/movement therapy, autistic children, kinaesthetic, proprioceptive activity, mirroring, rhythmic interaction, object relations

Page #: 12

This article offers a description of a therapeutic program for children with autism offered within the special school setting. Dance movement therapy was found to be an effective tool for engaging with these children’s otherwise ‘closed-off and confused’ worlds. A brief introduction to the features of autism is followed by a discussion of the program and therapeutic interventions offered. These include tactile activities to assist development of body image, mirroring as a means of engaging non-verbally as assisting development of movement patterning and behaviours. Rhythmic interaction is also discussed as a tool that assists in building object relations.

Dance-Movement in a Psychiatric Setting

Keywords: Dance Movement therapy, psychiatric, mind/body relationship, body awareness, body image, movement range, movement patterning, social interaction

Page #: 15

This article describes a therapeutic dance program offered to patients of diverse functioning in a private psychiatric hospital. The article focuses on the aims and principals of the program and includes a review of relevant theorists supporting these. A range of case studies illustrate the potential of such a program to create shifts in awareness for the client group. The article concludes with comments regarding both the limitations and contribution of the program in this particular setting.

A Dancer’s Journey

Keywords: creative dance, Marion Woodman, ego, personal account

Page #: 20

The author shares her personal journey of discovery through creative dance. Interwoven with this story are several ‘exquisite’ passages from Marion Woodman’s book: The Owl was a Baker’s Daughter, which inspired the writing of the article.

Motion and Emotion: a Reichian perspective

Keywords: Reich, dance movement therapy, emotional release, armouring, body therapy

Page #: 22

In this article the author offers a ‘very selective overview’ of Reich’s work and a discussion of similarities and potentially beneficial extensions for dance movement therapy practice. In particular she discusses energetic and therefore emotional release through triggering of the body’s autonomic response. She proposes that emotional release can be a potentially useful extension of dance movement therapy’s common use of emotional representation.

Creative Dance in Rehabilitation

Keywords: creative dance, rehabilitation, assessment, Laban movement analysis, evaluation

Page #: 24

The article provides a series of guidelines and recommendations around working with dance movement and creative dance with clients recovering in a rehabilitation setting. It includes a discussion of important considerations for group selection, and assessment strategies useful for planning. As well as conventional physical and psycho-social assessments the author discusses the utility of Laban movement analysis as a fundamental basis for program planning. Recommendations for program evaluation are also offered.

A Movement Program in the Context of Pain Management

Keywords: chronic pain, pain management, relaxation, tai chi

Page #: 28

This article describes the development of a relaxation and movement component of a multi-faceted program designed to assist chronic pain sufferers attending a pain management group. In particular a sequence of Tai Chi was taught and used as a basis for further development of movement. Self-report questionnaires filled by clients indicated that this movement component of the program was the most valued aspect. A proposal for further program development is also offered.

Dance Therapy with Psychogeriatric Patients: the experience of a local practitioner

Keywords: Dance Therapy, psychogeriatric patients, effort-shape analysis, dementia, identity, self-esteem, social connection, touch

Page #: 31

This article focuses on drawing out the benefits of a dance movement therapy program for elderly patients with dementia on the psychological as well as physical realm. The author describes her use of effort-shape analysis in program planning, as well as the specific psychological needs of clients with dementia, which include sense of identity, self-esteem, sense of control/choice, social connection and touch. She goes on to describe specific themes and interventions used, and provides interesting case studies to illustrate their success.

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

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.