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


Dance-movement therapy with unhoused women

A place for my self : issues of space in dance-movement therapy with women in a homeless shelter. Kelly M. Phipps. (1995). Hahnemann University. Source: OAI. ABSTRACT iii, 77 leaves.

Abstract from ResearchGate: “As homelessness in the United States continues to rise, research into the specific needs for treatment of this population is increasing. Both personal and social factors contribute to homelessness as well as different reasons due to gender (North and Smith,1993). Loss of personal, interpersonal and societal space occur as a result of homelessness. This loss of spatial boundaries can lead to the inability of an individual to overcome his homeless condition. This study was undertaken in an effort to demonstrate a relationship between issues of space among the homeless and dance/movement therapy concepts to produce a program that would be beneficial to women living in a homeless shelter. As literature pertaining to dance/movement therapy with the homeless is extremely limited, the study consisted of a literature review of women and homelessness, space and dance/movement therapy with relavent populations. In addition, clinical application of dance/movement therapy to this population is given and illustrated with short case vignettes. Findings showed that dance/movement therapy concepts of space were applicable to the traumas such as physical and sexual abuse, drug addiction and victimization experience by homeless women. The non-verbal nature and use of the body in dance/movement therapy is able to address these issues at the site of their experience. The conclusion is that dance/movement therapy, especially work geared toward personal space and boundary development, can play a beneficial role in helping women escape patterns of homelessness.”