Anna Jansen, Master in Science/ Master in DMT
Dance Movement Psychotherapy
What is Dance Movement Therapy?
Dance movement therapy (DMT) is the psychotherapeutic use of dance and movement in order to improve the physical and mental well-being of a person. The body and its non verbal expression are explicitly being used to promote health and well-being. DMT is used in a variety of settings with people who have social, emotional, cognitive, or physical concerns. Dance movement therapy can be done with both individuals and groups.
How does it work?
The therapist observes a person's movements to make an assessment and then designs a program to help treating the specific condition. The frequency and durance of the treatment are tailored to meet the needs of the participants. Treatment can be a short-term and focused, but can also be open-ended and explorative.
Dance movement therapists help people to be aware of what is going on in their bodies and how this relates to current or past feelings, emotions, thoughts and beliefs. Through dance and movement, people can identify, express and gain new insight in conscious or unconscious conflicts which are creating tension and disease.
You don’t need to be a dancer or know how to dance the cha cha cha in order to benefit from this therapy.
Physically, dance therapy can provide exercise, improve mobility and muscle coordination, and reduce muscle tension. Emotionally, dance therapy is reported to improve self-awareness, self-confidence, and interpersonal interaction, helps gaining insight and is an outlet for communicating feelings.
Who can benefit from DMT?
•People with a lot of tension in their body
•People who want to feel more in control
•People who would like to be more assertive
•People with difficulties in contact with others
•People with pains for which no medical explanation can be found
•People who have been through stressful or traumatic experiences
•People with mood swings or who feel depressed
•People with anxiety and feelings of insecurity
•People who don’t like their own body
•People who are recovering from an operation or disease
•People with weight and/or eating problems
•People who have difficulty feeling and expressing (certain) emotions
•People who like to become more aware of their own non verbal language
•People who would like to use dance as a means of self exploration and personal growth
•People who get stuck in verbal therapy and want to try a different way to gain insight
How do I work?
I provide an initial free trial session for clients to get acquainted with dance movement therapy. When treatment starts, we formulate goals and evaluate them every couple of sessions.
I was trained as a psychodynamic dance movement therapist, which means that I see body awareness, movement and dance as a means to explore unconscious conflicts which cause tension and distress. I also work cognitive-behavioral, in which case we focus more on detecting dysfunctional thoughts about your body or about yourself and practicing a new type of behavior in order to change the way you feel, think and act.
What does a session look like?
I always start a session with checking in and seeing how a client is doing and if there are any issues which need attention. This can be done verbally, sometimes after a moment of relaxation and focusing on the body. We decide together what will be the theme of the session or when it’s not that clear yet we start and find out on our way. Usually I join the client in the warming-up phase and guide them through different exercises warming-up muscles and stimulating awareness of how you (literally) feel. After that the client works on the theme in movement. This can be in improvisation or with certain structured exercises. After this we try to find closure for the moment in movement and words. There is opportunity for the client to share experiences, for the therapist to share observations and to deepen insight when talking about the session.
D. is a woman in her forties who is in dance movement therapy in order to work on improving her self-image. She has problems in her relationship and with being assertive at work. She finds it hard to stand up for herself and finds it hard to distinguish assertive behavior and aggressive behavior. Her feet barely seem to touch the ground and she prefers moving very small and light. Our goal is to practice with using strength in movement and improve her grounding. After a short verbal check-in, we start warming-up together moving different parts of the body on music, making small movement and large movements, moving while feeling very light, very heavy or moving with strength. I help her explore how much strength she literally has in her body and in which parts of the body. In different exercises she explores moving with and without strength and which thoughts and feelings she associates with the two. Afterwards we sit down and talk about how she can translate these experiences to situations at home and at work.
F. is a man in his twenties with severe back pains and a depressed mood. No medical explanation can be found for his back pains and F. seeks help in order to find out whether the pains are related to tension or some kind of emotional theme. After a short check-in we start moving in a gentle way in order to relax the muscles of his back a bit. The exercises help him stop thinking for a moment and start feeling and becoming aware of what is happening in his body. After a shared warm-up, F. lies down and tries to relax guided by instructions from the therapist. He is asked to bring his attention to his back and to focus on how his back is feeling right now. Guided by the therapist he explores his back, the pain and any associated feeling, thought or image which may arise. He is stimulated to follow any movement impulses which may help clarify the back pains and their meaning. Afterwards there is time to share his experiences and integrate them in order to gain more insight in what the pain may mean and how to deal with it.
L. is a girl who’s 8 years old. She is referred to dance movement therapy because she has a very negative self-image and is very shy. She likes to dance and through a story about a shy crocodile I try to define the negative and positive thoughts she has about herself and she starts practicing new behavior. First in the safe setting of therapy and later as well at home and in school by giving her small homework assignments.
How can you contact me?
You can call me (657183542) or e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What else do I offer?
I also provide psychological support during pregnancy and after birth.
Look for information at www.thebabyblues.org
I am Dutch and have loved to dance whole my life. I was trained as a dance movement therapist in Holland. I studied Human Movement Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, Holland and at Stirling University in Scotland. I was trained in dance movement therapy at the Hogeschool voor Muziek en Dans in Rotterdam, Holland. I worked as a dance movement therapist with a variety of people and problems in Manhattan Psychiatric Center, New York, USA and at Centrum´45 in Holland, at the latter for 5 years. Centrum´45 is a treatment center for people with mental health problems due to war-related trauma. Since 2005 I live in Barcelona, Spain where I have a private dance movement therapy practice. I am a lecturer and supervisor at the master in DMT at the Universidad Autónoma in Barcelona. I am a member of NEST (Network English Speaking Therapists Barcelona) and “miembro titular” of the ADMTE (Asociación Danza y Movimiento Terapia España).
What is the history behind DMT?
Dance has been an important part of self-expression in most cultures throughout history, for example in ceremonial and religious events, and in recovering health. The use of dance as a therapy in mental health care began in the 1940´s in the United States when dance teachers started to dance with patients in psychiatric hospitals and noticed that it had a therapeutic effect on their feelings and behavior. Inspired by the development of modern dance and psychoanalytic theories, dance and therapy were combined in order to help people by a more holistic approach to health and illness. Since then the profession evolved into an elaborate network of therapists working in various settings with associations and programs all over the world.