“The body says what words cannot.”
What is dance therapy?
As a dance therapist, I am often asked what dance therapy is and who it is meant for. My answer to the second part of this question is that dance therapy is for everyone who wants to engage in a therapeutic process in contact with the body and creativity. It is a psychotherapeutically oriented form of therapy in which you work with verbal, but especially with non-verbal methods, in order to start a process of change through movement. In addition to stating where you are and where you experience problems, we mainly look for insights and changes in action. You could therefore describe it as a real “doing” therapy. Just as you go into discussion with a psychotherapist, you go into movement with a dance therapist to investigate what is going on and then to work on a solution. There are dance therapy methods and techniques for this.
What you cannot put into words, you can often express through dance and movement. After an embodied experience, you can often describe what you experience in words. The body is connected to your feelings and your thoughts. In dance therapy, these different parts of us talk to each other.
Dance therapy is a body-oriented, creative and dynamic form of therapy. It is precisely this form of therapy that helps us to connect directly with our bodies, our feelings and our creativity. We can experience what is present from moment to moment and what we need to take the next step. Thus, dance becomes the engine of change.
Is dance therapy the same as ‘dancing as a therapy’?
Sometimes we hear people say that dancing is their therapy. They mean dancing in the disco or at a party. And that can indeed be liberating! You feel recharged and in touch with the world afterwards. Research has shown that moving and dancing can make us happy because endorphins (the happiness hormone) are produced in our bodies. When we move, we literally feel better; physically, mentally and emotionally.
In dance therapy, we focus on your psychological and physical well-being. You often come with a question or a problem that you cannot resolve on your own, or you simply want to develop further and receive support. In dance therapy, you are guided by an expert who can guide you through the somatic, the dance and the creative part but can also offer you the psychological support you need.
A dance therapist works with your body and your creative process to set change processes in motion. Your life literally gets in motion. Creativity and expression bring us back in contact with our feelings and deeper layers. In a therapeutic setting, you are guided by a professional who uses the body and dance to help you move forward.
Is dance therapy for me?
If you are considering dance therapy, you may have various reasons and motivations. Dance therapy sessions can help with anxiety-related complaints, trauma, (excessive) anger or sadness or not being able to express these feelings, grieving, self-esteem issues, depression, relationship problems, negative patterns and beliefs, blocks to progress, and many other problems.
You do not have to have experience with dance to do dance therapy. Maybe you find it difficult or embarrassing to move. A dance therapist will tune in to your needs and desires. She/he listens to what is really important in your life and how you can best be supported in this.
If you have become curious about dance therapy, you can read more about it here:
I think it is important to bring this form of therapy more into the spotlight because I believe in our creative potential. You can take new steps and be more vital, more creative and more connected in life. I wish that for you! You can also request a free online consultation at my website.