Treating Anxiety With Dance and Movement

Treating Anxiety With Dance and Movement


Treating Anxiety with Dance and Movement

Anxiety is a form of stress that can be experienced in ways such as physically, emotionally, and in the way people view the world around them. Anxiety mostly relates to worry about what might happen such as worrying about things going wrong or feeling as if you are in danger.When the body and mind react, we can feel physical sensations, like dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and sweaty or shaky hands and feet. These sensations are called the fight–flight response. This response is caused by a rush of adrenaline and other stress hormones that prepare the body to make a “flight” from danger.

My Capstone Project will involve researching movement and dance therapy techniques that help with generalized anxiety disorder. I will be mentoring a young girl suffering from this disorder while applying techniques learned through research. I will also keep a journal of what was and wasn’t successful for this child and her anxiety. I will deliver this project in separate components. First is a paper on my research of both anxiety, and dance/movement therapy used for generalized anxiety disorder. Second will be a total of 14 hours of mentoring a young student with anxiety. The mentoring aspect of my project is also going to be used for my independent study. My independent study consists of me helping my former Social Work professor, David Lynch, co-create a class titled; Empowering Youth Through Movement. The point of the mentoring is so that I can test out certain movement exercises we found to be beneficial of the course with my men-tee , that way future students can use these methods while teaching dance/movement workshops to young children for their final. The mentoring aspect for my Capstone is a much larger portion of my time spent with my men-tee. For confidentiality purposes I will use the name Hayley to refer to my men-tee. Hayley is extremely shy and struggles with enjoying anything in life due to her extreme anxiety. I have been researching my own movements, and dance styles that will help decrease her anxiety symptoms and help her find her comfort zone around strangers. The third component will consist of a journal that I will record in before, during, and after my mentoring session. Lastly a the end of the 14 hours I will have the young girl fill out an easy to understand evaluation form for our sessions.

I will be connecting this project to the Common Ground Theory. It is stated in our Interdisciplinary book that, “ people cannot rely on just any information they have about each other. The must establish just the right piece of common ground, and that depends on them finding a shared basis for that piece. Accordingly two people’s common ground is, in effect, the sum of their mutual, common, or joint knowledge, beliefs, and suppositions.” This theory is completely relevant to my project because both Hayley and myself need one another to meet at a common ground for us both to be successful. She is trusting in me to help her with her anxiety issues, where I am trusting in her to let me know if my teaching and theories are relieving her anxiety.

I will be drawing from the disciplines of Social Work, Psychology, and dance. Psychology research will allow me to gain a more in depth understanding of anxiety; how does it effect the body, or one’s daily life? Social Work research and practice will help me understand how to fully communicate with Hayley, while being patient, understanding, sympathetic, and uplifting. It will also help with my communication between her parents and I. The dance discipline will allow me to understand movement and dance styles that I will be using as a form of therapy in each session.

The timeline for my project will consists of a weekly meeting with my men-tee till the end of the year with an over all goal of 14 hours of meeting times. I have already began mentoring on Thursday, March 3 at 7:00pm. My research paper draft will be due in class on Tuesday, May 3. My final research paper, weekly journal, and evaluation sheets will be due Tuesday, May 10.



Ideas for my Capstone

1.) Research what types of dance/movement different people respond to. ex) Does a person with depression respond to different movements than a person with anxiety? Does a person with Parkinson’s respond to different movement than a person with cancer? etc. I will then take my research and create a hypothetical program. I will make a website for it and display all of my knowledge.

2.) I will research all of the same things as option no. 1 except I will find patients who would be willing to let me work with them in individual or group settings. After a serious of meetings I will give them a feedback sheet with a serious of questions asking them if they felt a positive difference from dance/movement therapy, if they would continue their experience, and if they felt I had a strong understanding in the field.

3.) I will find a dance/movement therapist who would let me shadow them for a certain number of hours. I will follow up with a reflective/research paper after I clocked in my hours.

4.) Conduct a serious of dance/movement therapy sessions as a form of stress management for university students to see if it reduces stress levels, also to see if it helps to enhance their academic performance.

5.) Conduct workshops for middle school and/or high school students who may deal with bullying issues (either the bully or the target). I’ll be working with the staff of the schools to see if bullying issues have decreased over the serious of workshops.

IDS Application Essay

Youth Services Through Dance

The ideas and issues of my major focus on creating an environment that deals with the emotional, social, and physical needs of children addressed through dance. The Social Work discipline works to improve the quality of life of individuals, groups, communities, and families. The Psychology discipline focuses on personality, social behavior, and human development, while dance works with dance education, history, and technique of dancing. The combination of these three disciplines are important in trying to reach my career goals. Having the skill sets of dealing with human behavior and different social environments, and a knowledge of dance with both performance and teaching skills, puts me in a great place of reaching children through the art of dance. No one major has the combination of these skills. My goal is to receive my masters in Dance/Movement Therapy such as the ones offered at Pratt Institute and Lesley University. DMT uses movement and dance to support emotional, intellectual, and motor functions of the body. I hope to work in schools and within hospitals, mainly children’s hospitals, to help patients cope with all sorts of diseases. These diseases can vary from cancer to anorexia. In cases such as cancer DMT could be used to regain strength both physically and mentally. Anorexic patients could benefit from Dance/Movement Therapy to regain self confidence.

There are a variety of different dance courses that are vital for my education. The first category of classes of which I will be taking deal with technique and performance. Advanced ballet, advanced tap, advanced jazz, advanced modern, and contemporary dance ensemble all strengthen my knowledge, understanding, and skills for my own personal dancing and performance abilities. I need to be strong within these genres of dance in order to properly educate my future students and pass my skills and technique onto them. The second category of dance classes in which I will take is the educational aspect of dance. Dance Pedagogy I and II certifies me with the ability to teach the art of dance in school systems. These are vital classes for me within this discipline because one of my goals is to work with students in schools. Dance composition teaches me multiple different skills and ways of looking at movement and placement on stage in mastering the ability to choreograph dances. Lastly History of Modern Dance and Technique looks into the history of dance, where it has come from and what it is evolving into. This wide range of dance courses will make me a well rounded dancer, choreographer, and educator.

Because I am planning on working within school systems and children’s hospitals my disciplines of Social Work deal with children. The range of courses that I have selected to put together for my contract will give me a well rounded mind set for dealing with issues in the lives of children. The first course I have selected is Introduction to Social Work. This introduces core values, practices, and the history of social work, and will ensure I have a basic understanding of how this field works. Next I chose Child Welfare and Family Services to educate me with knowledge involving foster care, and child protective services. Another course in which I found to be necessary is Child Maltreat. Working in both the hospital and school systems I will have to deal with many issues present in student’s personal lives. This course will educate me with topics in interventions to prevent or remedy child maltreatment, abuse, neglect, family violence and psychological maltreatment. Upon these subjects the course Families, Schools, and Community deal with problems and issues, including effective parenting, abuse and neglect, substance abuse, juvenile delinquency and insufficient family supports and resources. This provides overview of role of schools and communities in promotion of healthy families and considers models for prevention, assessment, intervention, and evaluation. Philosophical and Historical Perspective on the Child in Society (WRCO) deals with culture’s beliefs, and ideologies and how those are reflected in the education and treatment of children. These are all topics to keep in mind with working in hospitals and schools, since children come from all different backgrounds, values, and beliefs.

Introduction to General Psychology will allow me to focus on specific areas in science and study of behavior and mental processes. Psychology has vital information I need in being able to understand individuals and groups by establishing both general principles and researching specific cases. The ultimate aim of Psychology is to benefit society, and that is my ultimate goal as well. Measuring Behavior (TECO) will help me learn how to use technologies to work with relevant data in my field.

Since a young age I was always sure of just two things. First that I love to help others in anyway I can. The second being that I love to dance. Entering Plymouth State University I was completely unsure of what it was that I wanted to study. When I discovered the interdisciplinary studies program I instantly had an idea of what I wanted to create. I found it to be extremely difficult, yet rewarding to be apart of the interdisciplinary major. I love the sense of uniqueness that I can bring to the table in our work force. I feel that it is important to study what interests and best suits you. Interdisciplinary studies allowed me to pinpoint my exact interests and will enable me to thrive as a student, and future employer. Being able to mix disciplines of Plymouth States social work and psychology major, and dance minor has given me an interdisciplinarian quality that many other students can not say that they have achieved. I look forward to graduating with a unique degree titled “Youth Services Through Dance” and being able to say that I have created a major that best captivates who I am as a student and worker.

Dance/Movement Therapy

Dance/Movement Therapy

Ever since I was young I knew I wanted to dance and help others, as I grew older I was determined to find a career path that combined those two things. My interdisciplinary studies major combines the disciplines of Social Work, Psychology, and dance to prepare me for receiving my Masters in Dance/Movement Therapy. I just wanted to add a quick post about what exactly Dance/Movement Therapy is.

“Based on the empirically supported premise that the body, mind and spirit are interconnected, the American Dance Therapy Association defines dance/movement therapy as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.
Dance/movement therapy is:
Focused on movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship. Expressive, communicative, and adaptive behaviors are all considered for group and individual treatment. Body movement, as the core component of dance, simultaneously provides the means of assessment and the mode of intervention for dance/movement therapy.
Is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational and forensic settings, and in nursing homes, day care centers, disease prevention, health promotion programs and in private practice.
Is effective for individuals with developmental, medical, social, physical and psychological impairments.
Is used with people of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds in individual, couples, family and group therapy formats.”