Embodying Activism: Reconciling Injustice Through Dance/Movement Therapy
- 133 Downloads
Dance/movement therapy (DMT) is a pathway to address oppression in the therapeutic context. The consideration of the body, and its relationship to power and privilege, is crucial as we strive to integrate a social justice lens into the field of DMT. Through an exploration of the literature, including activism, traumatology, and embodiment, we provide a definition of social justice within the field of dance/movement therapy. Trauma is experienced in the body, and oppression is a form of trauma. Social justice DMT is the inclusion of the body in how counselors conceptualize and confront oppression in the therapeutic relationship, as well as the larger community. Socially just dance/movement therapists expand their role and theoretical scope to include activism and the systemic impact on social-emotional well being, as well continually consider their own biases and limitations. This paper works to radically reconsider how power shows up in the counseling context.
KeywordsDance/movement therapy Oppression Trauma Social justice Activism
There was no funding for this article.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
- Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Caldwell, C. (1997). Getting in touch: The guide to new body-centered therapies. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books.Google Scholar
- Caldwell, C., & Leighton, L. B. (2018). Oppression and the body: Roots, resistance, and resolutions. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.Google Scholar
- Chang, M. (2006). How do dance movement therapists bring awareness of race, ethnicity, and cultural diversity into their practice? In S. Koch & I. Braeuninger (Eds.), New advances in dance movement therapy. Berlin: Logos.Google Scholar
- Chang, M. H. (2016). Cultural consciousness and the global context of dance movement therapy. In S. Chaiklin & H. Wengrower (Eds.), The art and science of dance movement therapy: Life is dance (2nd ed., pp. 301–318). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Henley, N. (1977). Body politics: Power, sex, and nonverbal communication. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
- hooks, b., & Ensler, E. (2014, June 18). Strike! Rise! Dance!- bell hooks and Eve Ensler. The Lion’s Roar: Buddhist Wisdom for our Time. Retrieved from http://www.lionsroar.com/strike-rise-dance-bell-hooks-eve-ensler-march-2014/#
- Johnson, R. (2009). Oppression embodied: The intersecting dimensions of trauma, oppression and somatic psychology. The USA Body Psychotherapy Journal, 8(1), 19–31.Google Scholar
- Johnson, R. (2011). The silent wound: Discourse and the non-verbal re/production of oppression. Unpublished manuscript, Meridian University, Petaluma, CA.Google Scholar
- Kareem, J., & Littlewood, R. (Eds.). (1992). Intercultural therapy: Themes, interpretations and practice. Boston, MA: Blackwell Scientific.Google Scholar
- Lewis, J. A., Ratts, M. J., Paladino, D. A., & Toporek, R. L. (2011). Social justice counseling and advocacy: Developing new leadership roles and competenties. Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, 3(1), 5–16.Google Scholar
- Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2013). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Van der Kolk, B. (2014). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and the body in the healing of trauma. New York, NY: Viking.Google Scholar