Dance therapy group effects on stress management & stress reduction

Dance movement therapy group intervention in stress treatment: A randomized controlled trial (RCT). 2012. Iris Bräuninger. The Arts in Psychotherapy Volume 39, Issue 5, November 2012, Pages 443–450.

“This randomized controlled trial compares the effect of a dance movement therapy (DMT) group intervention on stress management improvement and stress reduction with a wait-listed control group (WG). 162 self-selected clients suffering from stress were randomly assigned to a WG or a DMT intervention that received 10 group therapy sessions. Stress management [Stressverarbeitungsfragebogen/SVF 120], psychopathology and overall distress (Brief Symptom Inventory/BSI) were evaluated at baseline (t1: pre-test), immediately after completion of the ten sessions DMT group intervention (t2: post-test), and 6 months after the DMT treatment (t3: follow-up test). Analysis of variance was calculated to evaluate the between-group (time × condition) and within-group (time) effect of the DMT intervention. Negative stress management strategies decreased significantly in the short-term at t2 (p < .005) and long-term at t3 (p < .05), Positive Strategy Distraction improved significantly in the short-term (p < .10), as well as Relaxation (p < .10). Significant short-term improvements were observed in the BSI psychological distress scales Obsessive-Compulsive (p < .05), Interpersonal Sensitivity (p < .10), Depression (p < .05), Anxiety (p < .005), Phobic Anxiety (p < .01), Psychoticism (p < .05), and in Positive Symptom Distress (p < .02). Significant long-term improvement in psychological distress through DMT existed in Interpersonal Sensitivity (p < .05), Depression (p < .000), Phobic Anxiety (p < .05), Paranoid Thinking (p < .005), Psychoticism (p < .05), and Global Severity Index (p < .01). Results indicate that DMT group treatment is more effective to improve stress management and reduce psychological distress than non-treatment. DMT effects last over time.”

“Keywords: Dance movement therapy (DMT) research; Stress management and stress reduction; Randomized controlled trial (RCT); Treatment effectiveness; Group therapy”


Use of dance with people experiencing homelessness

It Gives Me Purpose: The Use of Dance with People Experiencing Homelessness. 2010. Melissa Knestaut, Mary Ann Devine, Barbara Verlezza. Therapeutic Recreation Journal Vol. 44 No. 10.

Abstract: “According to the National Coalition for the Homeless (2009), there are approximately 1.35 million people who experience homelessness on any given day. Psycho-social issues that these individuals must address to survive daily vary, but most common are depression, stress, alienation, lack of continuity in their life, and uncertainty of their future. Engagement in leisure is one way to reduce the various psycho-social consequences of homelessness. Thus, the purpose of this case report is to discuss the benefits of a leisure activity, specifically a structured dance class for adults experiencing homelessness. The intent of the class was to decrease stress, increase positive feelings, encourage self-determination, and learn how dance can be used as a coping mechanism. Dance was used as a context for coping with stress and other effects of homelessness. Results indicated that participants experienced an increase in positive effects and a decrease in negative effects after participating in the dance class.”

Keywords: Dance, homelessness, leisure, self-determination, stress

Well-being and dance movement therapy interventions (including dance improvisation)

Specific dance movement therapy interventions – which are successful? An intervention and correlation study.
Iris Bräuninger. The Arts in Psychotherapy, Available online 19 August 2014, In Press, Accepted Manuscript. *Article does not have free open access.


•Specific DMT [Dance Movement Therapy] interventions could be identified that relate to the improvement of well-being.
•Dance Improvisation, Spatial and Effort Synchrony, and working with a Focus were effective individual DMT interventions.
•Improvement of QOL [Quality of Life], coping, stress with Psychodynamic, Chace DMT, directive-non-directive Leading and Interpersonal Closure.
•A small number of specific DMT interventions should be used cautiously until further research proves their effectiveness.
•970 intervention checklists on individual and 120 on group DMT interventions were analyzed.”

Abstract: “This intervention study examines the correlation between specific DMT interventions and the improvement in quality of life, stress management, and stress reduction. Dance therapists (N = 11) filled out 970x Intervention Checklist 1 (specific interventions at the individual level) and 120x Intervention Checklist 2 (specific interventions at the group level) while leading 10 sessions. Individual level therapists’ scoring of the Intervention Checklists were correlated with individual level clients’ scoring from the standardized questionnaires of the treatment group (n= 97). Therapists worked successfully when applying a self-selected approach and mixing in-depth DMT approaches and specific interventions. The findings show that a relationship exists between clients’ improvement in Quality of Life, coping, reduction of Stress and the use of Psychodynamic-oriented DMT, Chace approach, a combination of a Directive/Non-Directive Leadership Style, and an Interpersonal Closure. Clients’ Daily Life improved and Somatization symptoms decreased when Dance Improvisation, Spatial Synchrony, Synchrony in Efforts and working with a Focus were used. Results indicate that specific DMT interventions could be identified that relate to the improvement of well-being while some single DMT interventions should be used cautiously until further research proves their effectiveness. There is a continuing need to identify successful specific DMT interventions in future studies.”