American Journal of Dance Therapy

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 27–38 | Cite as

Dance/movement therapy with groups of outpatients with Parkinson's disease

  • Beth Kaplan Westbrook
  • Helen McKibben


The treatment of medical and neurological illness is complicated by emotional factors. Dance/movement therapy is of potential benefit in such circumstances. The specific hypothesis was that dance/movement therapy would be more effective than exercise in the outpatient treatment of patients with Parkinson's disease. In a group setting, the effects of six weekly dance/movement therapy sessions on the neurological and emotional status of Parkinsonian patients were examined. A six week period of an ongoing exercise group was used in a crossover design as a control. Improvements in movement initiation were seen during the one-hour dance/movement therapy sessions, but not during the exercise groups. Although subjective improvements in mood were also apparent in the dance/movement therapy group, no statistically significant improvement in mild depressive symptoms could be documented. These results suggest that dance/movement therapy is useful as an additional approach in the treatment of Parkinson's disease patients.


Depressive Symptom Emotional Status Disease Patient Therapy Group Exercise Group 
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Copyright information

© American Dance Therapy Association 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beth Kaplan Westbrook
  • Helen McKibben

There are no affiliations available

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