Dance therapy is a specialty that uses dance to provide therapeutic and rehabilitative care. Also known as dance/movement therapy (DMT), dance therapy promotes emotional, social, and physical wellbeing through physical expression. As opposed to recreational dance courses, dance therapy is considered a form of psychotherapy. Dance therapists design, teach, and model dances; they encourage participants to communicate through movement. Dance therapists are trained in both nonverbal and verbal instruction and may modify dance routines to suit participants' abilities. Possible benefits of dance therapy include:
Dance therapy sessions begin by an initial greeting between therapist and participants. Music may be played to facilitate expressive movement. Dance therapists devise a routine of poses and movements and teach this routine to the participants. While a participant dances, the dance therapist may observe and evaluate their emotion and behavior. The dance therapist will respond accordingly and will provide therapeutic intervention if necessary. Other dance therapy techniques may include:
Anyone can engage in dance therapy, however, it may particularly benefit children and individuals who have difficulty verbalizing emotion. Dance therapists work in a variety of settings including psychiatric and medical centers, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, counseling and wellness centers, and schools. Dance therapists earn a master's degree in dance/movement therapy and certification by the Dance/Movement Therapy Certification Board. Dance therapists may collaborate with music therapists, physical therapists, and psychotherapists, among others.