Dance Therapy

Dance therapy as a psychotherapeutical concept was developed in the USA and established in Germany at the beginning of the 1970s. Conforming to the American Dance Therapy Association’s definition, dance therapy is a psychotherapeutical method that understands movements as a process in which emotional, physical and cognitive aspects of a person are reflected which can be used to integrate or strengthen these aspects.

Dance therapy hasn’emerged directly from a psychotherapeutical movement but from dance. Trudi Schoop (California), Lilian Espenak (Norway) and Mary Starks Whitehouse were the first who orientated themselves at existing schools of depth psychology and started founding theories. Other theoretical contributions came from humanistic psychology and others.

Various techniques and elements can be used for dance therapy: breath, body movement, creative movement, relaxation, communication, verbalising and reflexion.

Dance is hereby used without technical rules and forms, as a means to express oneself and to communicate by movement.

The application area of dance therapy is diversified and not restricted by the patient’s age. Dance therapy can be used as well for individual or group therapy and serve diagnostic purposes, give self-awareness chances or help psychotherapeutical treatment.

In the latter sense dance therapy answers the purpose to help people in finding (or getting back to) a self-determined rhythm and self-creative movement and in become capable of acting in terms of dealing with oneself and their social relationships in a self-responsible, creative and realistic way.