The use of dance movement therapy for the healing of trauma
by Tannis Hugill MA, RCC, RDT, ADTR

Artistic expression has been used to heal from traumatic experiences since ancient times. The tools of Dance Movement Therapy can be especially useful because they unify the body and creativity as healing resources when words are not enough. The use of dance as a healing tool is rooted in the knowledge that body and mind are inseparable. Dance provides a direct experience of shared emotion on a preverbal and physical level, providing feelings of unity, harmony, and empathy.

Trauma is the result of an assault on our being and the consequences of trauma are complex and far-reaching. They may include complete disruption of life, isolation from others, anxiety, depression, PTSD, dissociative disorders, addictions, eating disorders, and a range of physical illnesses, as well as a loss of identity due to dislocation from the body.

For all that survive the ordeal of serious trauma at any age, the challenge is not only to heal the body, but also the mind and soul. The possibility of experiencing safety and pleasure in the body are impaired. If the body has been wounded, long after the body has healed survivors continue to cope with emotional devastation, as well as re-negotiation of their identities in bodies that have suffered profound changes. Recovery can be all the more difficult because the innate life coping skills of the survivor are seriously affected.[...]

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