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Effect of dance movement therapy in reduction of anxiety

Effect of dance movement therapy in reduction of anxiety

Colucci (2010) conducted a study to assess the effects of dance therapy and relaxation therapy on anxiety levels in college students. The participants consisted of 24 undergraduate students from a Catholic Liberal Arts College in New England and were divided into two treatment groups. The first was a dance therapy treatment group where students followed an instructor, via videotape, in order to ease their feelings of anxiousness. The other group was a relaxation therapy treatment, where the students listened to an audio tape consisting of the tensing and relaxing of muscle group, accompanied with deep breathing. It was predicted that the dance therapy session would experience a greater decrease in anxiety levels due to the process of self-expression and nonverbal communication, which allow for a greater release of the students feelings of anxiousness. All participants were administered the Speilberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory to test for pre- and post-session anxiety. Findings indicated that both therapy sessions had a significant decrease on anxiety levels, with dance therapy levels having a greater decline than the relaxation therapy, 1999 conducted a pilot study of 21 university students showed that those who took a series of four to five dance therapy sessions in a period of two weeks significantly reduced their test anxiety as measured by a well known exam called the test anxiety inventory. Afterwards, the subjects reported that their dance movement experience was positive and provided them with psychological insight. The researchers concluded that dance therapy could be a viable method of treatment for students who suffer from overwhelming test anxiety, and should be researched further.

Leste and Rust, (1990) investigated the effects of modern dance on anxiety. State anxiety was assessed before and after a 3 month education programme, using the Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory. The target group followed a class in modern dance. Control group were i) a physical education group to control for the effects of exercise ii) a music group to control for aesthetic sensitivity training and iii) a mathematics group. Several concomitant variables were measured: age, sex, attitude towards dance, and previous experience in sport, dance and relaxation. Dance training significantly reduced anxiety, but no control activities did so. Examinations of the concomitant variables showed that the result could not be accounted for by any obvious artifacts.

Robyn Price, (2005) describes a pilot study to test the potential of a dance movement therapy program as a treatment for anxiety. The program was developed by the author, drawing from the approaches of Kierr (1995) and Bourne (2000), and incorporating elements from psychodynamic, developmental, self psychology and cognitive behavioral approaches. Ten self selected adults joined a community based dance movement therapy program for a ten week series of sessions. Assessment tools included a client interview, Zung SAS questionnaire, movement analysis using the Samuels and Chaiklin movement observation scale and client feedback form. Eight out of the ten clients experienced a reduction in anxiety and those with no depression showed a higher level of improvement. Further research into the treatment of anxiety and depression is recommended, especially into the combination of verbal and dance movement therapy within a multidisciplinary treatment approach.

Donna Newman – Bluestein, (1999) reported success in using techniques of dance therapy with cardiac patients. In a stress reduction class, health professionals used dance therapy methods to teach body awareness, relaxation, self expression, relativity, and empathy. According to Newman-Bluestein, the dance therapy techniques helped the patients deal with such stressful emotions as anger, increased their self awareness, made them more relaxed, and helped them adjust emotionally to having heart disease.

Jeong. (2005) conducted a randomized controlled trial in Korea fond that dance movement therapy worked better than no treatment in adolescent girls with mild depression. This study assessed the profiles of psychological health and changes in neurohormones of adolescents with mild depression after 12 weeks of dance movement therapy. Forty middle school seniors (mean age: 16 yrs) volunteered to participate in this study and were randomly assigned into either a dance movement group (n=20) or a control group (n=20). All subscale scores of psychological distress and global scores decreased significantly after the 12 weeks in the dance movement therapy group. Plasma serotonin concentration increased significantly and dopamine concentration decreased in the dance movement therapy group. These results suggest that dance movement therapy may stabilize the sympathetic nervous system.

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Cohen &Walco (1999) conducted a study in which dance/movement therapy is introduced as a holistic approach to children’s health issues, incorporating an array of medical, psychological, social and spiritual issues. This study was conducted among children and adolescents with cancer. The inclusion of dance/movement therapy as part of the interdisciplinary team addressing the psychosocial needs of children and adolescents with cancer facilitates greater integration of factors elated to coping. By its nature this modality offers constructs that promote holistic approaches to cancer care.

Jeon., (2005) conducted a study using a quasi-experimental design, the experimental group was composed of 130 subjects and the control group was composed of 123 subjects. The experimental group participated in a 12 week Korean traditional dance movement program 3 times a wee from December 2002 to Feb 2003. Data was analyzed with descriptive statistics, the chi-square test, paired & t-test. There was significant improvement in balance, depression and decreased fall and medical cost in the experimental group compared to the control group.

Harris D.A (2006) developed a theoretical rationale for body movement based approaches to psychosocial rehabilitation, and offers dance movement therapy’s holism as evidence of transcultural applicability. Two distinct dance movement therapy initiatives among African adolescent torture survivors are discussed in terms of theoretical assumptions, implementation and outcomes. Both efforts afforded creative means for discharging aggression and restoring interpersonal connection. Anecdotal evidence supports this psychosocial interventions emphasis on group cohesion as a vehicle with both preventive and reparative capacities. Program evaluation revealed a drop in average symptom expression among a group comprised of former boy combatants who reported continual reduction in symptoms of anxiety, depression, intrusive recollection, elevated arousal and aggression. The group’s teenage males joined actively in improvisatory dancing and in other structured creative exercises., (2006) conducted a study to review the evidence for the effectiveness of complementary and self help treatments for anxiety disorders and situational anxiety in children and adolescents. Systematic literature search using pub Med, psycINFO and the Cochrane library for 111 treatments up to February 2006 were used as data sources. There were 11 treatments for which intervention studies had been undertaken and reported. Studies on each treatment were reviewed by one author and checked by a second. A consensus was reached for level of evidence. Relevant evidence was available for bibliotherapy, dance and movement therapy, distraction techniques, humor, massage, melatonin, relaxation training, autogenic training, avoiding marijuana and music therapy.

Lundy & Guffin, (2005) conducted a study using dance/movement therapy to augment the effectiveness of therapeutic holding with children. Research was conducted incorporating dance/movement therapy technique before and after therapeutic holding. Volunteer residential treatment center staff participated in a 4 hours dance movement therapy based training workshop integrating the techniques with the intervention. The study found out that dance movement therapy training increased adult awareness, sensitivity, perspective shifting ability, and confidence in the intervention while decreasing the necessity for physicality. It decreased the threat of trauma to adult participants.


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