Maybe you’re ready to get your inner David Bowie on and respond to a request of “Let’s Dance” and begin “Dancing in the Street” to the tune of “Magic Dance.” Maybe you feel “I Could Have Danced All Night” as a “Dancing Queen,” or perhaps you’re just a “Dancin’ Fool.” Maybe you’re the second coming of Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers, or perhaps you have two left feet and would be only too lucky not to trip over them as you try but fail to stay in rhythm with the tune.
Regardless of your level of dancing skill, dance movement therapy is an intriguing new concept that is helping some test groups see real progress in treatments for conditions such as eating disorders.
So, what is dance movement therapy, and how can learning to “Dance to the Music” help you psychologically?
For one thing, it isn’t “just” dancing, that’s at play here. In addition to the benefits of exercise and social interaction that dancing can give you, dance movement therapy works to engage the unconscious through various means, such as the following:
- Mirroring: Matching and mirroring your partner’s moves can help you psychologically empathize and connect with them, which can, in turn, be used for positive psychological treatment.
- Nonverbal Cues: Some psychological conditions make it difficult for patients to read and respond to social cues. In these cases, dance therapy can help patients learn how to recognize and respond to nonverbal means of communication.
- Trust: If you have trust issues, dance therapy with a partner can be beneficial in tackling those demons.
- Anxiety: For conditions such as eating disorders that are caused in part by anxiety, dance therapy can sometimes help alleviate or mitigate that stress.
A Unique Approach
Just as no two songs or dance partners are the same, so too is dance therapy different each time. This is another part of its latent genius, allowing for custom treatment options for different patients depending on their mood and condition.
Believe it or not, learning to “Dance, Dance, Dance” really can have therapeutic psychological benefits.