Movement is a highly effective way to trigger healthy releases of natural, feel-good hormones in the body, which are known as endorphins. These endorphins, which give you a sense of relaxation, contentment, and wellbeing, also help the body to concentrate better, achieve regular sleeping patterns, have increased energy levels and have a higher level of resilience towards emotional and mental stressors that may come your way in the future.
Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) is defined as the psychotherapeutic use of dance and movement to support emotional, intellectual, and motor skills in the body. There is no specific form of dance or type of movement required and each DMT therapist can vary their movement style according to their class’s needs and tastes. DMT classes can range from traditional disciplines of dance like ballroom dancing to more alternative forms of dance such as free dance or interpretive dance.
DMT differs from regular dance classes along several lines. In DMT, movement is used to communicate unconscious and conscious emotions and turmoil. The therapist guides the class, interprets, and generates conversations regarding the quality, pace, and character of the patient’s movements.
Some specific techniques used in DMT include mirroring and the use of metaphors during dance. During mirroring, the therapist and other patients will copy a specific patient's movements in an effort to show empathy with the others. Mirroring is an effective way to validate the emotions of other patients in the class and build connections and support networks between patients in the DMT class.
Metaphors in the DMT class are also an effective way to help patients express emotions and mental struggles. Therapists may ask their patients to dance with a heavy object to physically express the weight of carrying trauma or emotional pain. Another example of a dance metaphor is a white flag, which patients may be asked to dance with to physically embody surrender and letting go of past experiences.