How it works: groups that use therapeutic dance/movement

‘How does it work?’

This was the question at the start of my last year of enquiry into therapies that use dance/movement, specifically with facilitators and group-work.

I chose this question because it was unclear to the people who were interested and also unclear to myself!

I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to interview facilitators and hear their perspectives, I was inspired to find that there was resonance and overlap amongst their answers.

What we found was surprising and beautiful – the simple break down is this:

The introduction of group sessions aims to drop participants out of their heads (‘thinking mind’) and into their body (feeling sensations). This allows participants to enter a deeper state of consciousness, and come into connection with a deeper knowing, awareness and/or sense of self.

The dance/movement part of the session allows participants to explore this sense of self or any other emotions, sensations or insights arising. It also allows participants to ‘physicalise’ this knowing – bringing it into the physical world.

The closing of sessions can involve sharing. This invites participants to share this new-found, deeper awareness of their selves, with others, with the intent of forming a more honest and full sense of connection to community. Participants practise bringing more of their true selves into relationship with others, in a safe space.

Emotional and mental health are improved through reclaiming and sharing more truthfully and connecting more deeply with community. Wellbeing is benefitted from many parts of the process, especially movement and reflection.

Most importantly, what arose out of the research was that these practices are not new! Movement and dance has been a medicinal practise to heal the mind, body and soul and to strengthen community amongst ancient cultures. Bringing this back into the healing fields is a part of de-colonising therapy and ultimately an aim I’m proud to be a part of.

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