Dance therapy

What is dance therapy?

Dance therapy refers to the use of physical movement is a therapeutic context, aiding the expression of emotions and experiences. The American Dance Therapy Association defines dance therapy as the “psychotherapeutic use of movement for furthering emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual.” Dance therapy does not entail any specific or choreographed therapeutic ‘dance’; instead, the therapeutic nature of dance is completely individualised, and guided by a therapist based on an individual’s needs.

What is the evidence for dance therapy?

Moderate to low quality evidence suggests dance therapy may have a small benefit for reducing negative symptom severity. The ‘negative symptoms’ of schizophrenia refer to an absence of normal functions. These include a scarcity of facial expressions of emotion, reduced frequency and range of gestures and voice modulation, restricted eye contact, poverty of speech, reduced social interaction, reduced motivation, poor hygiene, and reduced experience of pleasure often manifesting as scarcity of recreation, inability to experience closeness, and reduced interest in any sexual activity.

May 2019

Last updated at: 5:32 am, 24th May 2019
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