Expressive Arts Therapy or Creative Art Therapies uses different artistic modalities like dance, drama, music and art that can be used in a therapeutic manner. Through devised techniques using creative and artistic expression, an individual is able to understand core issues from the artistic/dramatic expression of their subconscious, providing a deeper insight into themselves.
It has the ability to facilitate letting go of stored and repressed emotions and feelings from the body, providing clarity and new insight into one's personality.
The concept of ‘dance’ has existed from prehistoric times, whether it has been dance performed for religious offerings, ceremonies and shamanic practices, or even purely for entertainment value and purposes. Dance has a lot of significance in depiction of emotions and even in portraying a message to a large audience of people. Over time the notion of dance has evolved and is predominantly only used in an aesthetic manner. However, there have been significant and recent findings in the connection between the mind and the body. What goes on in our minds in terms of thought and emotion affects our bodies and vice versa. Through expressing our inner impulses and our subconcious thought patterns through our body, we are able to find a deeper insight into ourselves and possibly find answers and clues into personal situations.
With the exploration of this concept, Dance therapy became a substantial practice in the 1940’s when the American Dance therapy association validated it after seeing the positive impact it had on patients seeking mental help. Especially after modern dancers such as Martha Graham, Marian Chase, Isadora Duncan to name a few did substantial work in making individuals realize the value of dance or movement on emotion and thought process.
Along with pure expression there is also a sense of self awareness and stress/ emotional release that is felt after a dance therapy process which is therapeutic.
Dance therapy can be practiced in a group setting and can also be effective in an individual setting. A group process is a place where people learn and reflect from each other, whereas a solo session involves a one on one relationship with the therapist. A patient seeking individual help, will probably be more in need of such attention, hence solo sessions are conducted for individuals with severe disorders. Due to their unfortunate circumstances, many patients with psychological disorders would not be able to sustain themselves in the group for too long, hence require the isolated time with a therapist.