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Dance/Movement Therapy

1) Dance/Movement Therapy as a Tool to Improve Social Skills in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Literature Review

Holly Berlandy

Due to the expressive nature of dance/movement therapy a great deal of the literature was case studies and as a result, theoretical frameworks were developed. The case studies reviewed did vary in size, population and intervention but the embodied approach of DMT received positive responses. In most of the interventions, the authors found that after the dance/movement therapy intervention had been completed the child’s ability to maintain eye contact, attune to others and engage in socially appropriate behaviors had improved. Since most of the current literature reviewed was case studies there was not much quantitative evidence supporting the use of dance/movement therapy as an evidence-based intervention. Further research should explore the effectiveness of the current theoretical frameworks and continue to develop quantitative/qualitative studies to provide information around the development of social skills as a result of DMT interventions with children diagnosed with ASD.


2) Effectiveness of Dance Movement Therapy in the Treatment of Adults With Depression: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analyses


Based on studies with moderate to high quality, we concluded that DMT is an effective intervention in the treatment of adults with depression. Furthermore, by drawing on a wide range of designs with diverse quality, we were able to compile a comprehensive picture of relevant trends relating to the use of DMT in the treatment of depression. Despite the fact that there remains a paucity of high-quality studies, the results have relevance to both policy-making and clinical practice, and become a platform for further research.


3) Treating the Trauma Within: Dance/Movement Therapy and Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, A Literature Review

Alexandra Welych-Miller

...Current research supports that the use of DMT with CSA survivors has the potential to successfully address physical symptoms of CSA, such as dissociation, because of its emphasis on the body and nonverbal manifestations of trauma. Through interventions that aim to establish a sense of safety in order to improve interpersonal connection, build and repair the mind-body connection, and expand self-awareness and self-expression, dance/movement therapists can help CSA survivors process the symptoms of their early trauma and begin the healing process. Future research on DMT with CSA survivors should take care to expand gender inclusivity and pursue avenues of quantitative research in order to establish clear empirical evidence on the effectiveness of DMT as an intervention for sexual trauma survivors.


4) Methodology and Benefits of Dance and Movement Therapy for Individuals with Disabilities

McKenzie A. Dirr 

In order to develop dance as an activity that improves physical, mental, and emotional well-being for the individuals at the center, I created a series of nine lesson plans. Each lesson had a detailed intention of outlining classes specifically to be taught to adults with a spectrum of disabilities. I then taught these classes at the center and evaluated each individual lesson based on aspects that worked and those that needed to be changed. Then, I finalized the lesson plans to accommodate the specific analysis obtained within the real-life situation of the dance classroom. Ultimately, I created a curriculum designed to accommodate my specific audience in order to use dance as a way to build and reinforce positive learning outcomes. With each class, I had specific daily goals as well as larger, overarching goals that drove the direction of my lesson plans. I wanted to create an inclusive environment within a classroom setting for dance to build confidence and ability as it would for any student. I wanted the individuals at the center to feel graceful, strong, and capable. In the process of creating a teaching curriculum for this specific group of individuals, I aimed to challenge the way society views a dancer. In my opinion, the term “dancer” should refer to anybody who embodies movement within whatever physical modes of expression of which they are capable. I ultimately want to continue to build upon the notion that “dancer” just refers to someone who dances, taking out stereotypes and prejudices. I want to challenge preconceived biases of what a dancer should look like, how old they should be, and other factors that could exclude people from enjoying the beneficial aspects dance can offer