Therapeutic Movement And Dance Therapy For Trauma

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“Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.” – Samuel Beckett

After trauma, we often struggle to find a sense of safety in our body – and that makes it difficult for us to return to a state of play.

This is because our trauma-affected nervous system can leave us feeling like our body is not our own.

Physical and psychological symptoms – such as migraines, body aches, insomnia, anxiety and depression – estrange us from our safest, most expressive and creative selves. 

But according to Dr. Peter Levine, by working with the trauma-affected nervous system directly through somatic therapies, we learn to slowly release this trauma from the body, thereby creating a space of inner quiet in which creativity and self-expression can begin to thrive. 

One of these somatic techniques is dance therapy: it engages our “intelligence, spirituality, discovery and spontaneity” whilst helping us to release residual symptoms of trauma (Balgaonkar, 2010).

It also helps us to discover new, unconscious, playful ways of being by focusing on the unity and reintegration of the body and the mind through the performance of movement (Aubourg, 2018; van der Kolk, 2014).

This reintegration and state of play assists in the alleviation of many other challenges in our lives, too.

Some examples are:

  • The unburdening of trauma and tension in the body and mind 
  • Issues with our body-image and our self-esteem (Savidaki et al., 2020)
  • The rediscovery of our inner-strength (Bernstein, 2019) 
  • Freedom from feelings of paralysis and immobility (Serlin, 2015)
  • Re-attunement with our community, spirituality and physicality (Balgaonkar, 2010; Serlin 2015)

Our new Therapeutic Movement and Dance Therapy Program will explore the ways that dance can be used to heal the effects of trauma.

The program incorporates tension and trauma-releasing exercises such as tremoring, polyvagal-informed movement, breathwork, and others into a twelve-day, do-it-from-home course

These approaches seek to restore our executive functioning and connect us to our primordial, internal rhythm, which in turn supports and improves our ability to feel safe, playful, and at one with our bodies (van der Kolk, 2014). 

Thereafter, we’re able to do as Samuel Beckett says: 

“Dance first. Think later.”

It is, after all, the natural order.

 

 

Introducing Healing Trauma Through Movement & Dance Therapy 

 

Movement & Dance Therapy Exercises

Day 1: Exploring The Body In A Safe Relationship

Using breath work and movement, engage with your senses to generate awareness within the body to find stability. 

Day 2: Developmental Movement

Build a sense of embodied safety using the five basic developmental infant movements. This practice supports curiosity and playfulness as we explore our bodies in relationship with the world.

Day 3: Letting The Body Speak Through Expressive Movement

Exploring Expressive Movement maps enables the body to express and access spaciousness. This practice uses breathwork and movement to tune into what these sensations want to communicate.

Day 4: Practicing Boundaries

Use pushing sensations and movement to activate the muscular system and explore the physical boundaries of our bodies. This process is particularly relevant to those who need a reminder to return to their own stories and their own bodies. 

Day 5: Releasing Stress From Your Body

Release the stored stress and tension in your body by embodying freedom, play, and release using this DMT movement promptly. 

Day 6: Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique For Anxiety Relief

Release anxiety and move out of muscular tension by engaging in various relaxation techniques to let go of stress in your body. 

Day 7: Body Supports for Grounding and Connection

Explore ways of feeling grounded and connecting to yourself, others, and your environment with these body support practices. 

The 5Rhythms with Hannah Loewenthal
  • Day 1: The Rhythm of Flowing
  • Day 2: The Rhythm of Staccato
  • Day 3: The Rhythm of Chaos
  • Day 4: The Rhythm of Lyrical
  • Day 5: The Rhythm of Stillness
  • Theory Module: Introduction To The 5Rhythms Movement Practice (33-min)

Theory Modules:

Theory Module 1: Introduction To Therapeutic Movement With Maxine Bekker (33-min)

  • Learn more about Dramatherapy and Movement
  • Why Movement and Embodiment are important
  • The EPR Developmental Movement Model
  • What is the ‘Baseline’ 

Theory Module 2: Therapeutic Movement and Dance In Practice With Maxine Bekker (31-min)

  • Movement in Dramatherapy and Dance
  • The Anthropological Approach
  • Emergent Phenomena 
  • Expressive Movement Five-Phase Wave
  • Therapeutic Movement in a Clinical Context take-away

Theory Module 3: Tips For Practitioners With Maxine Bekker (25-min)

  • Seven Tips for Practitioners to bring more Movement into their lives and work

Theory Module 4: Introduction To Dance Movement Therapy With Rebecca Love (32-min)

  • What is Dance Movement Therapy?
  • What Dance Movement Therapy is not
  • How to become a Dance Movement Therapist?
  • Who benefits from working with a DMT?
  • Goals in a DMT Session

Theory Module 5: Dance Movement Therapy For Trauma With Rebecca Love (38-min)

  • Why DMT for trauma?
  • Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up Approach
  • The Stages of Trauma and Healing
  • The Benefits of Moving Therapeutically
  • Dance Movement Therapy Techniques

Bonus Modules:

Theory Module: Introduction To The 5Rhythms Movement Practice

  • Background of 5Rhythms 
  • What are the five Rhythms?
  • Benefits of 5Rhythm’s

Bonus Module 1: Introduction To TRE With Terrice Bassler & Martez Schembri-Diskey (32-min)

  • What is TRE®?
  • Reported Benefits of TRE
  • What is Neurogenic Tremoring?
  • Seven Tips To Take Into Consideration When Doing TRE

Bonus Module 2: Practical TRE Exercises With Terrice Bassler & Martez Schembri-Diskey (32-min)

  • A short demonstration of a Tension and Trauma Release Exercise (TRE) session by certified TRE Provider, Martez Schembri-Diskey.

Bonus Module 3: Grounding TRE Demonstration With Terrice Bassler (37-min)

  • Tension and Trauma Release Exercise (TRE) demonstration by certified TRE Provider, Terrice Bassler.

Bonus Module 4: Regulating the Nervous System Through Polyvagal-Informed Movement With Dr. Amber Gray (43-min)

  • A discussion on the benefits of integrating polyvagal theory, somatic work and movement therapy, including a follow-along stabilization sequence, led by Dr. Amber Gray, to help regulate the nervous system.

Bonus Module 5: The Importance of Faith, Spirit, And Ritual in Trauma Healing With Dr. Amber Gray (20-min)

  • A discussion around the value of spirit, faith, and ritual in trauma healing and different ways to incorporate ritual into trauma healing.

All Rewire Therapy Programs Come With:

  • A private support community
  • Lifetime access to the program and all future updates
  • Technical support via email and text
  • Start at any time at your own pace
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Register Here for $240  

You’ll get all 5 integration modules, 7 nervous system healing techniques, learning tools, plus bonuses you can immediately integrate into your trauma toolbox to help you work more effectively with a dysregulated nervous system.

Start Program

Thousands Of Healing Transformations With Rewire Therapy

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“For the first time ever, I feel like I understand what's happening in my body.”

 

Andrea, USA
"I was super-skeptical if this would work for me because I had literally tried everything and nothing was helping my PTSD... A week into the course and I already feel a huge difference."
 

Emily R, New York
"I bought a course on trauma healing from MindValley but totally didn't relate to the teacher or the content. Listening to female experts who have been there really makes all the difference. Thank you so much :-)."
 
Jessica L, Toronto
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"I've learned to truly listen to my body once again. This course has been a true gift."
 

Jenna, Survivor, USA
"I think the weirdest difference I noticed was that when I was practicing the exercises in Week 1... I began to feel my feet again. I realized I had dissociated from my feet for so long."
 
 
Jason R, Los Angeles
"I've been trying to heal my PTSD for years. It always felt like I took 2 steps forward and 1 step back. I just purchased this course and it's already paid for itself. The information in week 1 alone was more helpful than anything else I've done."
 
Marie G, Quebec
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“This course has been so helpful for my patients, especially those who’ve been through trauma.”
 
Cecilia, Clinical Psychologist, Guatemala

Register Here for $240 

You’ll get all 4 integration modules, 9 nervous system healing techniques, learning tools, plus bonuses you can immediately integrate into your trauma toolbox to help you work more effectively with a dysregulated nervous system.

Start Program

Meet The Experts

Tanya Zajdel

Tanya’s work with trauma healing and survivorship has been featured at the Tribeca Film Festival, CBC News, Vox Tablet, and Iheart Radio.

 

Tanya is a mental health worker, a women’s health nurse, and a published feminist author. Tanya focuses primarily on creating programs that facilitate trauma healing through creating new neural connections in the brain called 'neuroplasticity exercises'.

 

Her techniques combine various proven therapies to repair and reset the nervous system after trauma including somatic therapy, yoga, drama therapy, dance therapy, CBT, qigong, EMDR, vagal toning, authentic movement, and a combination of expressive, creative art therapies.

Maxine Bekker

Maxine R Bekker is a registered arts therapist (Dramatherapy), Expressive Movement facilitator, Family Constellations practitioner, and is currently focussing her work on further studies in relationships and intimacy.

 

She has a particular interest in the exploration of active embodiment through therapeutic movement and -ritual as a gateway to experiencing everyday intimacy in strengthening awareness of relationship with self, others, and the environment. She has a deep belief that this awareness is reparative in itself and offers the opportunity for a deeper awareness of ourselves in relationship with life.

Rebecca Love

Rebecca is an NYC-based therapist and visiting professor at Pratt Institute.

 

Her practice,Holistically Whole Creative Arts Psychotherapy, provides support for clients recovering from
trauma, mood disorders, and well as the BIPOC community.

Hannah Loewenthal

Hannah is a certified Waves & Heartbeat 5Rhythms® teacher, based in South Africa. She gained invaluable experience training & working with Remix Dance Company (a mixed abilities company in South Africa) and with Gabrielle Roth, US. She is constantly looking for ways in which we can practice coming back to the body as our primary ‘home’ place. This focus has led to creating an ongoing group with young women at the Scalabrini Centre for Refugees in Cape Town. She teaches, collaborates & creates in South Africa, Europe, and the US.

Register Here for $240 

You’ll get all 4 integration modules, 9 nervous system healing techniques, learning tools, plus bonuses you can immediately integrate into your trauma toolbox to help you work more effectively with a dysregulated nervous system.

Start Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Register Here for $240 

You’ll get all 4 integration modules, 9 nervous system healing techniques, learning tools, plus bonuses you can immediately integrate into your trauma toolbox to help you work more effectively with a dysregulated nervous system.

Start Program

Sources

 
American Dance Therapy Association. (n.d.) What is Dance/Movement Therapy? American Dance Therapy Association. https://adta.memberclicks.net/what-is-dancemovement-therapy 
 
Aubourg, C. M. (2018). Dance movement therapy with adolescents in a partial hospital program: a movement for engagement. [Capstone Thesis, Lesley University]. Archive Commons. https://digitalcommons.lesley.edu/expressive_theses/101
 
Balgaonkar, A. (2010). Effect of Dance/ Motor Therapy on the Cognitive Development of Children. International Journal Of Arts And Sciences, 3(11), 54-72. Retrieved 16 May 2022, from https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.301.8351&rep=rep1&type=pdf.
 
Bernstein, B. (2019). Empowerment-Focused Dance/Movement Therapy for Trauma Recovery. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 41(2), 193-213. 10.1007/s10465-019-09310-w
 
Grasser, L. R., Al-Saghir, H., Wanna, C., Spinei, J., & Javanbakht, A. (2019). Moving Through the Trauma: Dance/Movement Therapy as a Somatic-Based Intervention for Addressing Trauma and Stress Among Syrian Refugee Children. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 58(11), 1124-1126. 10.1016/j.jaac.2019.07.007
 
Kleinman, S. (2015). American Dance Therapy Association: Dance/Movement Therapy and Eating Disorders [Video]. Retrieved 16 May 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFDiqQDHyD0.
 
Koch, S., Riege, R., Tisborn, K., Biondo, J., Martin, L., & Beelmann, A. (2019). Effects of Dance Movement Therapy and Dance on Health-Related Psychological Outcomes. A Meta-Analysis Update. Frontiers In Psychology, 10(1806). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01806
 
Krabill, M. (n.d.). Top Five Advantages of Dance Therapy. Disability Resource Community. https://www.disabilityresource.org/29-top-five-advantages-of-dance-therapy
 
Lindberg, S. (2021). What Is Dance Therapy?. Verywell Mind. Retrieved 16 May 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/dance-therapy-and-eating-disorder-treatment-5094952#citation-4.
 
Serlin, I.A. (2015). Dance, creative arts, and somatic therapies in the healing of trauma. [Review of the book The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel A. van der Kolk]. PsycCRITIQUES, 60 (24).
 
Streater, O. K. N. (2022). Truth, justice and bodily accountability: dance movement therapy as an innovative trauma treatment modality. Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy, 17(1), 34-53. 10.1080/17432979.2021.2020163
 
Savidaki, M., Demirtoka, S., & Rodríguez-Jiménez, R. (2020). Re-inhabiting one’s body: A pilot study on the effects of dance movement therapy on body image and alexithymia in eating disorders. Journal Of Eating Disorders, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40337-020-00296-2
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