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Movement and psychodynamic pattern changes in long-term dance/movement therapy groups

Abstract

The benefits of performing long-term dance/movement therapy process research are underscored by this study. Shifts among selected movement and psychodynamic variables were tracked at set time intervals over the duration of 2 two-year long psychodynamically-oriented dance/movement therapy groups; the two groups were combined into one for the purpose of statistical analyses. The findings confirmed clinically-predicted changes among participants relative to individual and interactional movement style, and with respect to the following psychodynamic variables: object-choice of prevailing fantasy, prevailing affective theme explored, level of group trust and selfesteem experienced, and perception of therapist (as an experiential container, a provider of movement structure, and an interpreter of meaning). The results further revealed several patterns within as well as between some of the psychodynamic variables studied. For example, two different patterns emerged among participants with regard to their fantasy object-choice and affective themes explored. Additonally, the working through of anger and rage was followed by a rise in self-esteem and group trust during the first year; the latter changes in turn, were succeeded by an exploration of issues of intimacy-dependency and separation-loss during the second year. The clinical implications of the findings were discussed. Support was found for the application of an attachment-separation developmental framework to the evolving therapeutic group process.

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Additional information

This study is part of a five-year research project which was partially funded by a research grant awarded by the UCLA Committee on Research to the author. She wishes to thank Suzanne Ecker and Roberto Hernandez Eng for their assistance and support with aspects of the project. Requests for reprints should be sent to Erma Dosamantes, Ph.D., A.D.T.R., Director, Graduate Dance/Movement Therapy Program, Department of Dance, UCLA, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, Ca. 90024.

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Dosamantes, E. Movement and psychodynamic pattern changes in long-term dance/movement therapy groups. Am J Dance Ther 12, 27–44 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00844313

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00844313

Keywords

  • Health Psychology
  • Clinical Implication
  • Therapy Group
  • Process Research
  • Pattern Change