Bringing Harmony to the Family with Dance Therapy

Published on: June 08, 2021

Dance and Movement Therapy can clear our headspace and foster resilience. Aurelie explains the benefits of this practice for families and offers a fun activity to try at home.

By Aurélie Chaudieu

A little bit of history

After the Second World War, there was a need for alternatives to verbal therapy for war returnees to cope with what we would later call Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD). That was how Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) as a modality started in the US and Europe. Pioneers of DMT – mainly dancers – explored and experimented with the power of movement as a medium through which material from the human unconscious could be drawn out. Since then, this practice has gained wider visibility and now addresses many different issues for various populations.

What are the characteristics of Dance/Movement Therapy?

Dance/Movement Therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance to support our physical, mental, emotional, and social functions. Movement is a universal language and one we use as babies before we start talking to convey our emotions and needs. 

The body and the mind are intertwined and in constant interaction. When we work on the body, the mind heals at the same time. Likewise, the healing of the mind reflects in the body. DMT provides a safe and supportive space to reconnect with ourselves, to unleash our power within while being fully present at the moment. It encourages self-empowerment and fosters resilience while helping regulate the nervous system and re-writing our internal dialogue. 

What can DMT do for families?

DMT professionals adapt to families’ needs and context to skillfully develop tailored movement-based processes and efficiently address stress management, emotional intelligence, social skills, or non-violent communication.

It may guide children to recognize their emotions and how to better deal with them daily. When offered at school, DMT proposes an experiential learning space where children are free to explore, express, connect, and be themselves authentically without any goal or expectation.

Last but not least, DMT may also offer a self-care space where busy parents can release stress and tensions in a safe and supportive atmosphere. Once recharged, they feel refreshed with a peaceful mind, ready to tackle the external world again. In the uncertain time of a pandemic, and a stressful city like Bangkok, taking a pause, breathing, and connecting through movement is critical for our mental health.

Want to move at home? Try this fun activity for all the family!

A fun and stress-relieving movement exercise is to put on your favorite music, take a light scarf, and freely explore the fluidity of the scarf while moving it in the air. Try to move it at a different pace, and in different shapes. Draw circles or lines in the air. Explore levels from the upper level to the floor. We might also want to play with this scarf with the different parts of our body: hands, feet, head, arms, legs, and chest. While we are playing with this prop, we are living in the moment while enabling our bodies to express ourselves freely.

Photos from Canva.

About the Author

Aurélie is a life-long passionate dancer, life-mentor, and former NGO’s Head of Advocacy. She provides tailored services for individuals, NGOs, and corporations worldwide, using the healing power of art and movement to build resilience through creativity and the body-mind connection.

StepAhead – Art & Movement for Resilience & Creativity


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