Dance Movement Therapy – A Healing Art

Dance Movement Therapy: A Healing Art by Fran J. Levy


Author Fran J. Levy writes a comprehensive chapter on using dance therapy with children in various settings.  She includes research conclusions from several contributing authors such as Suzi Tortora, Jane Wilson Cathcart, Rena Kornblum, Tina Erfer, and Diane Duggan, among others.  Each of these authors did research on a different population of children with special needs.  Tortora discusses her program Ways of Seeing which emphasizes that there are many ways to experience our surroundings and get feedback from others.  There must be a social and emotional relationship between the client and the dance therapist before any real work can begin.  Tortora has a 4-part procedure for her therapeutic process with children in dance therapy.  Cathcart sees “freedom of expression as a basic tool for the healthy development of full selfhood.”  Cathcart utilizes mirroring during sessions to establish trust between herself and clients.  Kornblum discusses children at risk of violence and ways to prevent acting out violently towards the therapist.  She states that there are three major skills to prevent violence; 1) be pro-active, 2) ability to manage anger, and 3) the social skills necessary to get ones needs met.  She has developed curriculum called “Violence Prevention through Movement.” She developed the four Bs, brakes, breathing, brains, and body and uses these as methods for calming clients.  Duggan developed the “4’s” which is a movement structure that engages and organizes adolescents and addresses prominent adolescent issues.  Erfer and Ziv explains how group cohesiveness comes with being present in the moment and reduces anxiety in the client.  They have found that dance therapy is quite useful for the autistic child and Kalish-Weiss researched dance therapy with autistic children and was concerned with what drives the movement behavior in these children.  Dance therapy with sexually abused children is discussed by Erfer, Weltman, and Harvey and the unique challenges this population adds to dance therapy.

Published by Patricia Loy

I'm a woman of God following Christ's teaching despite incredible obstacles.

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