ARBN 633105736

Brigitte Puls

Dance movement psychotherapy as in uenced by Daniel Stern

Edition: Dance Therapy Collections 4

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” ( 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.