About Dance/Movement Therapy


“Dance/Movement Therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.”
American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA), n.d.

Benefits of Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT)

  • Complements and supports a multi-disciplinary team approach
  • May increase cognition
  • Promotes the feeling of control over one’s own body
  • Engages sensory systems, yielding increased well-being and focus
  • Increases socialization
  • Provides a safe space for expression of thoughts and feelings
  • Promotes nostalgia
  • Cultivates a support system
  • Promotes overall relaxation
  • Encourages physical exertion

Dance/movement therapy reintegrates previous tactile, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic experiences (Matherly, 2014).


Dance/movement therapy improves quality of life for older adults with cognitive impairment by engaging the sensory systems and simultaneously stimulating physical, emotional, and cognitive functioning (Bräuninger, 2012, 2014; Karkou & Meekums, 2017).

Themes that often emerge and are then explored within the DMT session

  • Loss
  • Connection
  • Anxiety & fears
  • Relationships & support systems


  • DMT sessions are facilitated with persons of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Each member is encouraged to participate at his or her own pace/comfort level.
  • Appropriate music of the group’s choice may be played in the background to provide structure, rhythmic synchrony, and a sense of comfort.
  • Memories and feeling states that are stored in the body and mind are accessed through movement and validated by the members.
  • DMT is most effective with groups of 12-15 persons. Smaller or larger groups are beneficial as well, provided that most members do not require 1:1 attention and/or are not markedly cognitively impaired.
  • DMT sessions can be facilitated in many different types of settings (recreation rooms of healthcare establishments, wellness centers, hospital rooms, psychiatric units, schools and classrooms, community centers, etc.).
  • Members are situated in a circle formation prior to the start of the DMT session
  • The entire DMT session is often seat-based for older adults and/or individuals with physical limitations.


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