Some Thoughts On Dance Therapy And Developmental Theories
DMP is fundamentally a creative process and one whose therapeutic work happens within the creativity that is born in the moment. Non- verbal creativity is a chance to begin work from the beginning. Its origins are to be found in the interplay between mother and child (Winnicott, 1965).
This suggests that this arena has huge potential for discovery of life.
The provision of a facilitating environment (D.W.Winnicot, 1988) is of fundamental importance if the individual’s maturation processes are to become actual. Maturation is a matter of integration. Integration of the self, of the psyche dwelling in the body and of object relating (D.W.Winnicot, 1988).
These are all addressed in DMP through the holding, handling and presentation of objects / props, invitations to dance
The purpose of using mirroring in DMP is to attune to the patient communicating through empathy then it seems a very powerful tool. DMP’s use their bodies to speak to the bodies of the patients. Kinaesthetic empathy comes first and then empathy as a mental state (Braten, 2007) showing how powerful movement is and how it seems more vital than talking therapies as the client gets to feel first.
“What one experiences through movement can never be expressed in words: in a simple step there may be reverence of which we are scarcely aware. Yet through it something higher than just tenderness and devotion may flow into us and from us.” (Laban, 1975: 35)
Through new and different ways of being in dance movement therapy, in the presence of another giving presence to you within an empathic communication, vital neurological connections are made through ‘mirroring’.
“This phenomenon can be traced back to early child development, when infant and primary caregiver (mother or mother-like presence) establish sustained mutual eye contact, thereby promoting neurological maturation by facilitating the mirroring and shaping patterns of behaviour.” (Colfi, 2009)
Stern, (1995) believes that the experience of being mirrored stimulates the neurological development of the baby’s own mirror neuron system. Abnormal development of the mirror neuron system can influence a child’s capacity to be in relationships (Doussard-Roosevelt, 2003).
These connections may have been broken through ones lifespan or may have never been made at all. The DMP interventions can support this mirror neuron system and encourage and nuture one to stay present with the whole process, to stay in relationship and dance together for life!
DMP is concerned with the unity of body and mind and works to overcome and heal the dissociations. This unity can help addicts resist urges and experience discomfort without numbing the senses as the physical movement with the mental preparation of dancing steps enables the body to experience new and different ways of being (Programs, n.d.)
“The interactive nature of our inherent body-psyche-mind unity is such that developmental processes can take place without necessarily reaching the stage of verbalized insight.” (Espanak, 1981: 169)