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The Role And Benefits Of Dance As A Therapy For The Treatment Of Mental Illness

3519 words - 14 pages

[Type text] [Type text] [Type text]1006859The Role and Benefits of Dance as a Therapy for the Treatment of Mental IllnessThis essay will explore the purpose and benefits of dance movement psychotherapy (DMP) in relation to the treatment of mental illnesses. In order to do this, it will look at the history of DMP in particular Marian Chace, who first used dance as a form of therapy for mental health patients. It will also briefly look at the change in treatment for mental health over the past century. The essay will examine the more traditional methods of treating mental illness such as counselling and psychotherapy and how DMP could be just as beneficial to patients. To support dance movement psychotherapy, the essay will study the somatic theory, which considers that there is no distinction between the mind and body and that they work as one. In support of this, the essay will draw upon specific examples of dance therapy in practice for the treatment of mental health such as the Reach4Dance.Dance has always been used as a means of communication and self-expression, "dance is human thought and feeling expressed through the body" (Hanna 1987), but in 1942, Marian Chace, a dancer and choreographer, really began to explore dance as a means of therapy. Chace was "an original thinker who evolved a theory of clinical practice using basic dance to engage those who were severely disturbed," (Sharon Chaiklin, 1993). To start with, Chace decided that rather than focusing on teaching dance technique, she would change her classes to meet the physical and mental needs of her students. Earlier in life, Chace had an accident, which left her with back injuries. Her doctor had suggested she took dance classes to keep her back mobile, which is when she began to see how else dance could be used to assist others. She "understood the essence of the art form of dance and how it relates to the needs of human beings for communication and understanding", (Sharon Chaiklin, 1993). Once realising the potential of dance as a therapy, Chace showed the psychiatrists at St Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington the benefits it could have on their patients. It was clear that dance could have a positive effect on patients overall wellbeing. The idea of DMP was for patients to be able to overcome physical and emotional difficulties through movement. Gradually more therapists started using dance therapy, which led to Chace founding the American Dance Therapy Association in 1966. A few years later, dance therapy became a categorised form of psychotherapy. Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) was formed using dance and movement to empower individual, physical, emotive, cognitive, spiritual social integration and development.Although treatment for mental health follows the same aims as those for DMP, it has generally always involved a form of talking therapy such as counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and psychology alongside the use of medication. Generally these treatments have a...

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