Dance Therapy Collections 4


Editors: Jane Guthrie and Sue Mullane, with Elizabeth Loughlin, Melbourne: DTAA.

Dance Therapy Collections Number Four is the latest in a series of edited books published by the DTAA. The twelve chapters have been contributed by dance movement therapists and other creative arts practitioners from Australia and elsewhere who envisioned their work beyond traditional settings and familiar applications. The articles were mostly derived from presentations made at the fourth Australasian Dance Movement Therapy Conference (Melbourne, July 2015), “Broadening the Spectrum: how dance movement therapy and other creative arts therapies can function as single and multi-modal approaches to health and healing”. They offer a diverse range of philosophical, theoretical and practical understandings of the notion of ‘expanding’ or ‘opening up’ the field of dance movement therapy in Australasia.

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Abstracts:

The essentialness of improvisation

Keywords: improvisation, dance/movement therapy, in the present moment, creative process, problem solving

Page #: 5

Improvisation is at the heart of many dance/movement therapy interventions. It is not just “making it up as we go along” but a way of building meaning and relationship in movement on a moment to moment basis, following the craft of working in the medium (dance movement). This paper explores why improvisation is so important to the integrity of dance/movement therapy interventions, to dance/movement therapy research, and why we should bring this feature of dance/movement therapy into broader discussions of psychotherapy and counseling. Our knowledge of improvisatory processes can also inform the development of the profession.

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The arts, the liminal space, and the visible outcomes

Keywords: dance movement therapy, health content relevance, documented practice study

Page #: 12

The article considers how to preserve the arts therapy in institutional and community contexts and how to communicate its outcomes. It asks the question: how do we sustain the dance arts programs in the settings that traditionally employ allied health and education professionals? How do we communicate the actions of the dance arts to those who are not familiar with the arts eld or its therapeutic interventions? The author will respond to these questions, drawing on the notion of the ‘liminal space’ and its ‘liminal space boundary’. She will first describe the broad outcomes arising from her dance movement therapy practice and associated creative arts interventions over twenty years in two different hospital contexts, a paediatric medical clinic, and a mental health clinic for mothers and infants; secondly she will examine other Australian dance movement therapy practice through a Grounded Theory study of articles in the Dance Therapy Association of Australia publications: DTAA Newsletter, 2001 and DTAA Moving On, 2002-2014. Loughlin proposes that key to the future of dance movement therapy is the use of the visible outcomes, and the communication of their relevance to the core business of the institutional and community contexts.

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Puppetry enhances healing potential in dance movement therapy

Keywords: dance movement therapy, puppetry, attentional distance, intersubjectivity, creative arts therapy

Page #: 27
This paper reports on the experiences of participants and facilitators in a puppetry workshop for dance and movement therapists, exploring puppetry as a movement-based art form. It draws on these experiences to examine how puppetry might enhance the healing potential of dance movement therapy. Located somewhere between therapeutic art and creative therapy this work began in a series of exploratory sessions at Dance Family, a creative dance/movement program for parents and their children with disabilities. Our experience suggested that the attentional distance afforded by working with puppets generated and enhanced relationships.

Drawing on Stern’s studies of infant development we establish movement as the unifying foundation of dance and puppetry, identifying degrees of attentional distance as the differentiating principle. Exploring Trevarthen’s intersubjectivity model we inquire into the nature of the relationship between puppet mover and puppet, differentiating between body and puppet focus, exploring relationship through puppets and examining the role of witnessing. Weaving participant experiences and theory together we conclude by referring to Reason and Heron’s intentional healing and Heron and Reason’s participatory inquiry paradigm to propose the healing potential of puppetry in dance movement therapy as deriving from a powerfully transformative collaborative space of personal worlds opening.

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Narrative Dance Theatre: Creating new narratives for the self story

Keywords: narrative, self, diversity, creative arts modalities, dance theatre, creativity

Page #: 36

Narrative Dance Theatre introduces a creative psychotherapeutic technique developed by the author which incorporates the principles of dance movement therapy, the ideas of self-object experience in self psychology, and the principles of narrative therapy to externalise and re-author an alternate narrative. Narrative Dance Theatre aims to offer insights to diversify the implementation of dance movement therapy with other forms of creative arts modalities and other facilitation styles. It aims to utilise creativity to broaden expressivity, to enrich the embodied healing experience and to create change within a psychotherapeutic setting. Narrative Dance Theatre can also be employed in the creative arena with the integration of psychotherapeutic elements during the creative making process to promote psycho-education and eliminate social stigma around mental health issues.

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Integrating play and dance movement therapy

Keywords: play, dance movement therapy, relationships, communication, creativity

Page #: 43

Often play and dance/movement therapy are viewed as separate ways of working with children, with play therapy using verbal metaphors that emerge from improvised play expression and dance therapy proceeding in a more physical mode. However, both play and dance have certain common therapeutic ingredients such as the experience of fun; pleasure; the element of developing relationships through emotional attunement; communication; and the facilitation of spontaneous creativity as curative factors. This paper will introduce a theoretical understanding of how these child related disciplines can be used together as well as provide several dance therapy skills related to the use of physical play in the therapy action within a variety of treatment contexts.

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The dance of life with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Keywords: 

Indigenous culture, dance movement therapy, trauma, engagement, cultural awareness, cultural safety, Australia

Page #: 51

Dance and ritual have been essential parts of the cultural and spiritual life of Australian Indigenous peoples for more than 40,000 years, used to promote health and wellbeing and share cultural knowledge. Dance movement therapy utilises dance and movement to assist in integration of body, mind and spirit, in a professional modality that was identi ed only in the mid-twentieth century. Parallels between these practices observed by dance movement therapists include a holistic approach to wellness and priority on non-verbal communication achieved through shared rhythmic movement. Many of the signi cant challenges faced by Indigenous communities in contemporary Australia, including transgenerational trauma, have been impacted positively by dance movement therapy interventions in other countries. However, currently there is no documented evidence that the practice is being utilised in Australia. This chapter responds to that issue in offering ideas to support dance movement therapists to be culturally competent and respectful in efforts to engage with Indigenous peoples of their nation. Recommendations include the development of genuine partnerships and relationships that enable two-way learning, to develop culturally safe programs that acknowledge and respect Indigenous ways of knowing and living.

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The importance of Fred: Dance movement therapy with children with complex trauma

Keywords: dance movement therapy, trauma, mindfulness, sensory work, play, art

Page #: 67

It is through movement and the felt sense that we learn to experience ourselves in relation to others and our environment. The use of the mind body connection, sensory awareness and dance movement therapy has been implemented by the author to form a comprehensive multi-sensory therapeutic intervention. A case study example is presented to describe the use of dance movement therapy with a traumatised 10-year-old client. Information

is provided on the neurobiology of trauma and how dance movement therapy can assist in trauma recovery. This approach resulted in improved client outcomes including an enhanced ability to self-regulate affect, participate effectively in educational activities, improved social relationships and capacity for empathy.

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Enhancing expressivity using affect theory and Laban Movement Analysis

Keywords: categorical affect, vitality affect, Laban Movement Analysis, interoception, expressivity, non-verbal communication, relationality

Page #: 76

Human expression takes many forms beyond the familiar written and spoken communications. Sounds, symbols, and dance/movement form the primary expressive focus of dance movement therapy. Although non-verbal emotional communication is universally accepted as essential, our depth of understanding of this idea goes no further. This chapter will examine affect theory and its relevance to expressivity. Speci cally, Laban Movement Analysis and affect theory will be integrated to demonstrate enhanced ef cacy for dance movement therapy.

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Dance movement psychotherapy as in uenced by Daniel Stern

Keywords: dance movement psychotherapy, Daniel Stern, vitality affects, language

Page #: 91

Dance movement therapy is understood by some as a form of psychotherapy, as for example with the Association of Dance Movement Psychotherapy (UK) which underwent a name change from the Association of Dance Movement Therapy in 2009. The Association of Dance Movement Psychotherapy regards therapy as “a relational process in which client/s and therapist engage in an empathic creative process using body movement and dance to assist integration of emotional, cognitive, physical, social and spiritual aspects of self” (http://admp.org.uk). Based on this understanding, the following paper discusses the use of dance movement psychotherapy in relation to Daniel Stern’s psychoanalytic theory and how it is highly useful as a guiding developmental and personality theory. In particular, the following core notions of Stern’s are introduced with their special relevance for dance movement psychotherapy: vitality affects, amodal perception, core self-experiences and self-agency, intersubjectivity and the place of language. The author illustrates the application of these core concepts with examples and case study vignettes from her dance movement psychotherapy practice.

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Dance Movement Exploration: A new approach to discovering self in movement

Keywords: dance movement exploration, dance movement therapy, psychosocial theories, physical activity

Page #: 104

Dance Movement Exploration is a new approach developed by the authors on the use of dance movement therapy in the reduction of academic stress levels among university students participating in couples dance classes. This study, resulting from an experimental investigation, explores the potential of the use of dance movement therapy beyond its classic ‘therapy’ aspect for ‘challenged groups’ in traditional settings. It contributes to the enrichment of the model Dance Movement Exploration, with methodological and theoretical bases from dance therapy, psychosocial theories and physical activity as experiential movement application. Drawing from testimonies and realizations from the participants of the study, the entire experience demonstrates that the utilization of inner processes and body expressions is signi cant both as a psychotherapeutic tool and as a motor skill learning/ teaching strategy, in the recognition of an individual’s capabilities in any physical activity, be it dance, sports or games.

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Broadening the understanding of breast cancer experiences through movement-based exploration

Keywords: female breast cancer, transitional experiences, holistic, movement, dance movement, focus group

Page #: 115

This study was conducted with the aim of using a movement-based focus group approach to explore women’s holistic breast cancer experiences during the transition period following completion of primary medical treatment. The use of movement in this study makes it highly innovative in the context of breast cancer treatment with Chinese women living in Hong Kong. A constructionist framework was used to support the study’s methodology. Findings indicate that women’s breast cancer experiences during the transition period include bodily, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and relational aspects, which are interconnected. The results also reveal that non-verbal communication (drawing/writing and the created body shapes) broadened the women’s ability to express their breast cancer experiences. This study indicates that the inclusion of movement-based approaches may contribute to the enhancement of psychosocial research in women’s health studies in Hong Kong in the future.

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Dance movement therapy in Australasia: 21st century

Keywords: dance movement therapy, contemporary image, unique skills, exibility, improvisation, future directions

Page #: 124

Developed from a plenary panel presentation made by the authors at the Dance Therapy Association of Australasia’s Conference, Melbourne, 2015, this article centres around the belief that if dance movement therapists adopt a more contemporary image they could t into a wider range of opportunities for dance movement therapy practice. The authors expand on a ‘contemporary image’ of dance movement therapy and the reasons why they see the need for one at this time. Global trends, identi ed from recent international conference presentations (American Dance Therapy Association 2014, and European Association of Dance Movement Therapists 2014), are drawn on to support the ideas presented and personal authors’ stories are used for further illustration. The views of the wider dance movement therapy community on the subject of ‘contemporary images’ are included, as drawn from a survey undertaken during the conference plenary panel session and questionnaire completed at a later date. A further perspective is included, from the moderator of the discussion. The various viewpoints are drawn together to suggest ideas for expansion of dance movement therapy in Australasia in the future.

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