What is Movement Therapy and How Can it Help Me?

Ever heard of movement therapy? We won’t be surprised if you haven’t because for some reason it’s not quite as high-profile as some other forms of therapy. We think the reason for this is related to the wide variety of people it can benefit, making it difficult to categorize. It can positively affect cognitive, social, emotional, and psychological aspects of the body. This particular characteristic of movement therapy is in fact one of it’s biggest draws because it can help so many different people in a wide variety of circumstances. It would be a difficult task to pinpoint another therapy method that has found success in such disparate scenarios. Some of the conditions, disorders, and circumstances that movement therapy has a proven track record in include the following:

  • people suffering from PTSD
  • people with dementia
  • people with eating disorders
  • people confined to hospice
  • women who’ve been subjected to violence
  • refugees
  • survivors
  • victims of bullying
  • people with Down syndrome
  • people with traumatic brain injuries
  • people with self-inflicted injuries
  • people on the autism spectrum
  • people with developmental disabilities
  • torture victims
  • people with mental illness
  • young people living in underprivileged, urban areas

So what is movement therapy and how can it possibly be effective for so many different people? Well, in technical terms, it joins movement with psychotherapy to promote the integration of the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social areas of an individual with better overall well-being and health as it’s intended result. Dancers in the 1940s started to pick up on the fact that movement and dance worked wonderfully as a psychotherapeutic form. In many ways movement therapy can be considered a holistic approach to healing. This is because it’s founded on the premise that the mind and body are forever and always connected and that changes in the mind always affect the body, as well as the other way around. Often it can be difficult to really explain the nature of movement therapy, even for professionals, because as experience has shown, one must participate in the process to truly understand.

Movement therapy confides in the following empirical observations:

-In the therapeutic process, nonverbal communication is equally as important as verbal communication. Also, movement is a language, just like any spoken or written one. We move before we speak or write, making movement our first and most primal, instinctive method of communication.

-The following three aspects of existence are dependent on and intertwined with one another: body, mind, and spirit.

-A movement therapy session conducted by a therapist is observed and executed by focusing on its developmental, expressive, communicative, and functional potential.  

-Movement is a dominant method of mediation and a tool for assessment. As you can probably tell by now, dance itself is an integral component of mov

As you can probably tell by now, dance itself is an integral component of movement therapy. Therapists in this field use body movement (often incorporating particular styles of dance and choreography) as the main driver of their psychotherapeutic work. Movement therapists construct certain styles of movement in a particular way as to allow them to properly assess and observe their client’s nonverbal communication so they can get a reading of their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional state of being and then help optimize those states accordingly. It’s an extremely effective form of therapy and rehabilitation as well as being extremely rewarding for the participant, not to mention that there isn’t a more fun therapy method than this!