Effects of dance-movement therapy: meta-analysis

Effects of Dance/Movement Therapy: A Meta-Analysis. Meredith Ritter, BA, Kathryn Graff Low, PhD. (1996). The Arts in Psychotherapy Volume 23, Issue 3, 1996, Pages 249–260. *There is not free public access.

“The present study addresses methodological problems that have affected the DMT [dance/movement therapy] literature and evaluates quantitative studies of DMT using meta-analytic techniques. […] The purpose of the present study was to calculate standardized effect sizes for case-control studies of dance/movement therapy and to produce summary statistics reflecting the average change associated with DMT compared to controls. The study also examined the effectiveness of DMT in different samples (e.g. children, psychiatric patients, elderly) and for varying diagnoses (anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, developmental disabilities) using meta-analysis.”


Contact improv dance in prison

An Evaluation of Dancing Inside: A creative workshop project led by Motionhouse Dance Theatre in HMP Dovegate Therapeutic Community. Brown, J., Burchnall, K., & Houston, S. (2004). Forensic Psychology Research Unit, University of Surrey, England.

“The present study examines year two of the Dancing Inside project. […] The findings reveal that the use of dance in a prison TC [Therapeutic Community] can facilitate emotional awareness and expression, encourage new ways of thinking, and help participants to discover an emerging sense of a new self. This has a significant contribution to the ‘process of change’ for each participant, as it aids self-disclosure, increases willingness to talk about themselves, their experiences and their offending behaviour. There was evidence of the short term impact experienced after the workshop. There is further evidence to support  the longer term sustainability of change.

“A note of caution however needs to be struck when considering the generalisability of our findings. […] Thus the report evaluates the particularities of the conjunction of the Dovegate TC [Therapeutic Community], Motionhouse [Dance Theatre] and [the facilitator] rather than attempts to consider the role of Dance in prison more generally.”

Expressive arts therapies with survivors of torture

Expressive arts therapies: Working with survivors of torture. Amber Elizabeth Lynn Gray. (2011). Torture Journal (Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture)  Volume 21, No. 1, 2011, pages 39-47.

Excerpt from the article:  “Dance/Movement Therapy (“DMT”) is both a somatic and an expressive arts therapy. A primary theoretical underpinning of this psychotherapeutic practice is that movement is a primary language for all human beings and, as such, is a powerful means to access implicit memory and stored history, trauma-related or not. From a developmental perspective, DMT acknowledges the non-verbal roots of all human language, communication, and experience, and therefore may be particularly suited to work with survivors of torture who have literally experienced the unspeakable directly to their bodies. Dance may be considered the creative or expressive aspect of movement, and for many cultures where the creative process is included in ritual, healing and daily life, DMT may be more appropriate than conventional talk therapy. The non-verbal and pre-verbal nature of trauma also supports the use of this modality.” (pages 42-43)