Dance and Music Therapy

Music therapy:

Dance and Music therapy are forms of therapy wherein the participants are taught to channel constructively and express their thoughts and feelings. These are very helpful in individuals, young and old, who feel that they are unable to truly let other people know who they are inside and what they feel by just using speech and writing.

Dance and Movement Therapy

Human beings have the innate capacity to communicate and express thoughts and feelings through physical movements and body language. Dancing is common to all tribes and races of the past and present. Young children are able to express in this way without oral communication and without inhibitions. Unfortunately however, as people grow up in our modern society, they are bogged down by rules, etiquette and norms that discourage this kind of free verbal and physical expression resulting in pent up feelings. These hidden emotions can often lead to physical manifestations and illnesses.

This form of therapy can be applied to any individual from any age group who is willing. Dance and movement therapy's goal is to enable the person to discover the physical movements he is capable of. This therapy is also intended to help individuals express and hopefully resolve deep-rooted problems through communicating and relating to others through the medium of physical movements and dance. It helps people recognize, understand and come to terms with these repressed emotions and communicating them to others at the same time.

Dance movement therapy can help relieve psychological, emotional and stress-related disorders. It can also help people who are anxious and depressed, people with addictions, problems pertaining to physical, sexual, or verbal abuse and even learning disabilities. It has been observed that children who respond strongly to this therapy are often found to have physical, mental, behavioral and intellectual problems like autism. This form of therapy is said to be most beneficial to those with psychological and emotional disturbances and those who are intellectually challenged.

Dance therapy sessions are most often done in certain day-care and 'drop-in' centers and hospitals. In these sessions, the therapist may suggest movements but encourages participants to take the initiative and make their own. Eventually, the participants learn to express their feelings constructively, talk recognized problems over and learn how to resolve them better.

Music Therapy

Making music has always been an essential part of all cultures as leisure, as a mode of communication as well as a medium for expression. Music is a very powerful tool and has shown great effects on human beings. Music can entice, captivate and excite. It can also stimulate feelings of sadness, fear, joy and serenity. Because of these reactions, the experience of making and listening to music can be very beneficial when used as a form of therapy.

In music therapy, the participants make music as a mode of communication and as an expression of their deepest emotions. In a session, they make use of different instruments as well as their own voices to create music. Music therapy can help people with various disorders but is especially helpful in children and adults with intellectual and learning disabilities. This can also help those who are physically limited in some way by improving breathing and muscle coordination.

These sessions are often done in certain hospitals, in residential homes and schools. Trained therapists with a qualification in music are required to conduct the therapy.

Michael Russell
Your Independent Alternative guide.

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