Bojner-Horwitz, E., Theorell, T., & Anderberg, U. M. (2003). Dance/movement therapy and changes in stress-related hormones: A study of fibromyalgia patients with video-interpretation. The Arts In Psychotherapy, 30(5), 255-264.
I was drawn to this article because of the keywords “changes in stress-related hormones” because my main focus of study is how it affects stress/mood related disorders such as anxiety and depression. Now, not everyone in a college community has fibromyalgia or suffers from chronic pain, but I did find this information and study very useful. The study did not focus on a biological relief that connects dance/movement therapy and chronic pain, but how it connects to the stress-related hormones found within those illnesses. Fibromyalgia patients suffer from long-lasting generalized pain and other physical and psychological symptoms such as headache, anxiety, fatigue, stiffness, psychological distress, concentration difficulties, and sleeping problems (Bojner-Horwitz, Theorell, & Anderberg, 2003). Many researchers have argued that creative arts therapies, among them dance/movement therapy, can be an important complement to other forms of therapy and pharmaceutical treatment for patients with long-lasting and chronic pain (Arn, 1991, Gronlund, 1994, Gronlund & Lumsden, 1991 and Teszary, 1991). Creative art therapies are effective in promoting an emotional state of well-being and in helping the patient create symbols that represent emotional experiences. Application of these therapies may also lead to increased self-esteem, physical mobility and self-control (Hanna, 1995).
I decided to insert these quotes because I found it extremely relevant to my own research and the goals I wish to achieve within my workshops. I want the participants to feel better about themselves and be put into a place of balance that they are able to find within themselves. I want to guide as a leader, but not force any emotions or outcomes. Now this study contained a few prescriptions and other clinical ideas that I will not be using, but it also used the idea of video-interpretation that drew my attention. The participants were asked to interpret the movement patterns on a video within their own bodies. I like this idea, and will definitely use shape and flexibility to a personal preference, but I found it interesting that the art was really taken away from dancing. I want to include a lot of personalized improvisation and movement choices because I think it adds meaning to dance on an individual level. A gesture does not have to mean the same thing to everyone, and I think that is important to recognize.
Gray, A. L. (2001). The body remembers: Dance/movement therapy with an adult survivor of torture. American Journal Of Dance Therapy, 23(1), 29-43.
Abuse and torture of the body can easily shut a person away from ever using their body for an expressive, let alone positive, reason. High levels of anxiety, body tension, and feelings of constricted breathing are all common symptoms that affect the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of a survivor. The study concluded that DMT can be beneficial in survivors of abuse and torture by rebuilding an individual’s sense of wholeness and self-worth, and in improving interaction and relationship skills.
I found this in-depth study beneficial because it gave me another perspective as to a cause for someone to be experiencing anxiety or depression. Although I will not be directly working with torture survivors, this article gave excessive insight covering ways to cope with the symptoms listed above. Breathing exercises and reminding participants that they are in control of their breath allows a fluid amount of oxygen to travel to the brain that gives us a sense of relief. Using Laban’s Effort Graph techniques, working on releasing tension by moving between ideas of bound and free movements to recognize the difference.
Haboush, A., Floyd, M., Caron, J., LaSota, M., & Alvarez, K. (2006). Ballroom dance lessons for geriatric depression: An exploratory study. The Arts In Psychotherapy, 33(2), 89-97.
This article focused on a group of participants with the average age of 69 who were diagnosed with geriatric depression. Within this study, the participants received eight ballroom dance classes varying from waltz, to swing, to tango, as an alternative therapy to treat depression. Psychopharmacological interventions do not have the same stigma yet many older adults cannot take antidepressant medication due to the side effects and interactions with other medications (Salzman, Satlin, & Burrows, 1995), furthermore there are often residual depressive symptoms that merit additional treatment (Scogin et al., 2001). As a result, geriatric depression is often ineffectively treated. As a result, 18 out of 18 participants not only enjoyed the dance lessons, but two said it was the only reason they had to leave the house.
I found this article useful because it was not a typical therapy session that I have read about. I like that they did not use the modern approaches that I have been studying, but simply used partner dancing as a form of raising endorphins. The patients were all happily attending dance classes for a variety of reasons including simply enjoying the music. This put into perspective how music can also help with bringing up emotions and setting a mood to the class. I had not even thought about including music into my workshop until I read this article, so I found that information extremely valuable.
Koch, S. C., Morlinghaus, K., & Fuchs, T. (2007). The joy dance: Specific effects of a single dance intervention on psychiatric patients with depression. The Arts In Psychotherapy, 340-349.
This article is focused on a psychiatric, meaning clinical, patient and the process of dance therapy within an individual. Chun-Li, a 56-year-old woman diagnosed with major depression with psychotic features is the patient used in this study. The article includes great dialogue between Chun-Li and the psychiatrist that also gave me insight to how to speak while in a session. Making suggestions, asking questions without demanding answers, and also repeating in your own words what the patient reflects are all ways to approach conversations within a one-on-one session. What is interesting about this study is that Chun-Li practiced dance before she became depressed and actually used it as an outlet after experiencing trauma in her marriage. However, she was practicing traditional Taiwanese dances that allowed her to live in a fairytale mindset instead of using dance to express the reality that was going on. The dance therapist allowed her to still practice these dances that she loved, but worked on her finding her own emotions within the movement to make the dance about her and her story. I was able to gain insight about how a one-on-one dance therapy session is performed rather than the popular use within a group environment. I also liked that this was not just seen as a form of CAT (Complementary Alternative Therapy) but as a treatment from a psychiatrist who can prescribe a wide variety of medicine to treat clinical depression.
Lee, T., Lin, Y., Chiang, C., & Wu, M. (2013). Dance/movement therapy for children suffering from earthquake trauma in Taiwan: A Preliminary exploration. Arts In Psychotherapy,151-157.
In this study, psychologists used a formula of DMT to help children understand their emotions after a tragic event. At 1:47 AM on September 21, 1999, a violent earthquake registering 7.3 on the Richter Scale rocked Taiwan. The earthquake killed 2415 people, left 29 missing, and injured 11,305; in addition, 51,711 buildings collapsed and 53,768 were damaged. The most severe impact was in central Taiwan, and this was the most damaging disaster in Taiwan since World War II (Ministry of Interior, 2002). Children suffered from nightmares, had difficulty falling asleep, and were over-reacted to stimuli. They created a program called “Happy Growth” for elementary school aged children that were affected by the earthquake and at risk for developing PTSD. This study referenced the cognitive behavioral model to understand and recognize their emotions without shame for feeling that way. They were given tools to further their understanding of social adaptation and reduce their anxiety.
The biggest point I got out of this article was the fact that children were asked to recognize and reflect their emotions after a traumatic event. Children do not have the verbal or social capabilities to express their emotions, let alone actually understand what they are. Children sometimes cry because of a feeling they cannot convey, or scream because that is the only reaction they know. This is a great example as to why dance/movement therapy is important because children were able to recall what happened and work towards healing in healthy way. The process was not sugar-coated as they dealt with the themes of chaos and death, but they were able to work through the emotions and end with a workshop called healing. I am choosing not to work with children because I already teach dance and activities to children as a career and wanted to focus on an area I am less familiar with. However, I did like the approach to the activities, as well as the idea that if we can help children who do not know emotions understand what those are through movement, we can do the same for older populations.
Punkanen, M., Saarikallio, S., & Luck, G. (2014). Emotions in motion: Short-term group form Dance/Movement Therapy in the treatment of depression: A pilot study. The Arts In Psychotherapy, 41(5), 493-497.
This article is about a study that uses a short-term form of dance/movement therapy in a group setting for patients with depression. The study focused on the themes of awareness, expression and symbolic quality, images and feelings, and the differentiation and integration of feelings. Body movement is fundamental to the perception and production of emotion, and should be addressed more in the approaches and methods used for treating depression. Some examples of the themes were exploration of boundaries, somatic resources (core and periphery of the body), symbols, pleasant and unpleasant emotions, mindfulness and body awareness, enriched movement experiences, and safety and touch (Punkanen, Saarikallio, & Luck, 2014).
I find this article the most helpful because it is focusing on the same psychological studies that I am, as well as a short-term effect on the participants. Most of the studies I found had a series of therapy over an 18 month time period, but this was limited to 20 sessions (3 per week) each being 60 minutes long. This study focused more on themes within the sessions that gave me inspiration as to what I would like to bring to my own workshop. I definitely would like to bring in their suggestion of pleasant versus unpleasant emotions verbalized through movement because I like the idea of using Laban’s techniques on his effort graph.
Vaverniece, I., Majore-Dusele, I., Meekums, B., & Rasnacs, O. (2012). ‘Dance movement therapy for obese women with emotional eating: A controlled pilot study’: Erratum. The Arts In Psychotherapy, 39(2), 161.
This article is about using dance/movement therapy as a form of treatment for women classified as obese due to emotional eating. This is a study that was performed with the ideal outcome to help women find a way to become a healthier weight without ignoring the source of the problem: emotional eating. The reason I like this study is because we often place stereotypes on who can dance based off of what their bodies look like. This study is designed purposely to encourage women with a BMI ≥ 28 to dance. This study was not only about the physical benefits that dance can bring to your life, but also the emotional release or findings that can occur through the art form. It brings up topics of body image, emotional states, and why this is a better long-term solution as opposed to commercial weight loss fades because it reflects on a problem that goes beyond what their weight says. I plan to use this information as another reference for how emotional eating can be a cause or effect from depression, anxiety, and/or stress.
Wittig, J., & Davis, J. (2012). Circles outside the circle: Expanding the group frame through dance/movement therapy and art therapy. The Arts In Psychotherapy, 39(3), 168-172.
Within this article, therapists discuss how to perform arts therapy sessions in group settings. It is encouraged to use groups while practicing arts therapies because it allows others to relate to one another to create their own communities. I have made the choice to use group therapy for my Capstone mainly with this knowledge, but also with the thesis people are more likely to dance and move if others are doing the same around them. This article contains really insightful group movement activities that I would like to incorporate into my workshop. My favorite was the idea of using circles as a way to gain intimacy within a group that asks for so much personal expression. Using the idea of mirroring allows a participant to individualize a movement and lead a group or partner in their own style. This can be used within a variety of activities and at any point in the session. I plan to use it as a bit of an icebreaker or perhaps a way to gain individual insight to how one interacts in a society after finding a balance within themselves.