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American Journal of Dance Therapy

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 157–181 | Cite as

Movement and Mindfulness: A Formative Evaluation of a Dance/Movement and Yoga Therapy Program with Participants Experiencing Severe Mental Illness

  • Emma J. BartonEmail author
Article

Abstract

This article provides a process/formative evaluation of the program Movement and Mindfulness, a body-based program designed and implemented for use with an outpatient psychosocial rehabilitation facility. The Movement and Mindfulness program offered stress-reduction, coping skills, and pro-social behavior for people experiencing severe mental illness using dance/movement therapy and yoga therapy-based techniques, as well as traditional group counseling and the Eastern concept of mindfulness. A formative evaluation was carried out during a 20-week period, involving an experiential curriculum focused on self-regulation and self-awareness. This study used qualitative methods including interviews, surveys, and verbal group feedback for data collection and analysis. The results provide examples of psychological and physical shifts that had occurred for the participants during the course of the program. Participants’ clinical observations revealed amelioration in pro-social behaviors, stress management, and communication skills. Numerous hypotheses emerged to be tested in future studies at the interface of Movement and Mindfulness programs.

Keywords

Formative program evaluation Severe mental illness Dance/movement therapy Yoga Mindfulness Intercultural differences (in framing of mental disease/in understanding mentally ill or alike) 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the Chicago Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program for providing opportunities for graduate health and social service students to pursue service projects with underserved communities. I would also like to acknowledge and thank Damian Shiner, who edited this manuscript.

The implementation and evaluation of Movement and Mindfulness was in part made possible by a stipend awarded to the author by a 2008–2009 Chicago Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. The Movement and Mindfulness program was originally designed for use with people experiencing homelessness and substance abusing populations. It was modified for use with persons experiencing severe mental illness (SMI) within an outpatient psychosocial rehabilitation program.

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Copyright information

© American Dance Therapy Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BostonUSA

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