What is Dance Therapy?
Dance therapy is based on the belief that there is a direct relationship between movement and emotion and that therapeutic movement can improve the total functioning of the individual and bring balance to the entire body- physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Through the use of dance and movement, a dance therapist directs a teen in ways to relax tension in the body, which helps emotional functioning. Movement is used to express what a teen is feeling, tell stories, encourage self-expression and increase self-understanding. Dance therapy encourages teens to express feelings and to exercise and improve the mind and body.
This therapy can be done individually or as part of a group. No prior experience or skill in dancing is needed to participate.
Examples of dance therapy include: dancing as fast as possible, mirroring the movement of others, making up a dance routine, dancing to express a specific emotion or telling a story through dance.
Teen Problems That Can be Helped by Dance Therapy
As with all the expressive therapies, the teens most likely to benefit are those who struggle to communicate verbally, are resistant to therapy or whose problems or experiences are too painful to discuss directly.
Dance therapy is particularly helpful for teens with the following problems:
- Difficulties concentrating, such as teens with ADHD
- Trauma, to include sexual, physical, emotional abuse
- Neurological problems
- Excessive Anger
- Poor self esteem
- Self-harm, such as cutting
- Eating Disorders
For more information about dance therapy, or to find dance therapist, contact the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA).