FOR HEALTH AND EDUCATIONAL SETTINGS
DANCE MOVEMENT THERAPY FOR OLDER PEOPLE
Can I dance?
These gentle movement sessions are specially tailored to meet the different needs of all participants, regardless their age, stage or abilities. Wheelchair users are welcome and no prior experience is needed.
Dance Movement Therapy provides a safe space for social interaction, expression and exercise. The sessions are seated and participants are encouraged to engage in some gentle physical activity, for as long as they like. Some participants prefer to observe, listen to the music, or imagine that they are moving. Although movement is used as the main medium for expression, there is also time for discussions and sharing of our stories.
What are the benefits for older people
Research shows that dance therapy combines various therapeutically beneficial characteristics for older people.
- Engage participants in physical activity: breathing exercises, stretching, gentle movements and seated dance.
- Are a source of reminiscence; they trigger embodied memory, through physical expression.
- Help participants to accept and cope with pain or illness.
- Reduce feelings of isolation.
- Allow space for free expression, including non-verbal expression/ communication.
- Creatively stimulate the participants.
“I feel alive when I move”, participant in Jubilee ward, Mile End Hospital
“It makes me forget my pain and worries”, participant in Shadwell ward, Mile End hospital
“ I have made new friends", participant in Sundial day center
“Now I feel very relaxed”, participant in Greenvale nursing home
“ The sessions are great; gentle, stimulating and very well thought through”, staff in Inglemere residential home
“It was fun!” participant in Ann Moss, specialist care unit for older adults
DANCE MOVEMENT THERAPY WITH CHILDREN
Why dance movement therapy with children?
It has been recognized that children express emotions through their bodies more freely that adults. Through their bodies, children can release hidden emotions such as frustration, sadness or grief, when they cannot talk about them or they are not conscious of how they feel.
In Dance Movement Therapy, the expression of a child’s experience is encouraged in a safe, spontaneous and non-verbal way.This provides a channel for the child to work through emotional and cognitive difficulties when struggling either in the classroom or with relationships.
What does a session look like?
Through the use of music, rhythm, play and body awareness exercises, children are stimulated and supported. Sometimes, guided imagery and story telling are used. The sessions may give a sense of creative and active play. At the same time, they process and further a child’s cognitive, emotional, social and physical levels.
The main goal of a session is to stay present with the children, create a safe relationship and take them to a healing space.
What are the benefits?
- Children regain a sense of safety and control: by creating a relationship of trust with the therapist, by taking their time and space, by taking the lead in games.
- Children feel respected and valued: they are seen and accepted as they are.
- They learn to adapt, so they can face challenges: by becoming aware of their bodies and exploring new positive experiences.
- Children improve relationships: by interacting with others in healthy and creative ways.
- They are creatively stimulated: sessions involve colors, props, textures and music.
- Children improve at school: they learn how to concentrate and focus.
- The movement also helps children physically: it strengthens their bodies, improves flexibility, motor skills and kinesthetic awareness.