Dance-Intelligence believes that an embodied approach to couple therapy is a highly effective method which assists couples with intimacy issues in their relationships. Through a combination of narrative therapy and simple structured dance steps to music, couples strengthen their bonds by learning the skills of healthy communication.
Aim: to increase awareness and understanding of self and other, through consciously engaging the body in shared movement.
Note: No dance experience or talent is needed. Medical aid rates are applicable.
Academic research shows that partnered dance helps to:
- reduce stress and develop confidence,
- increase body and emotional intelligence,
- increase levels of the social bonding hormone oxytocin,
- increase levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin,
- develop new neural connections (in regions involved in executive function, long-term memory and spatial recognition),
- benefit people with mood disorders as it can also be a cathartic experience.
The creative approach of all dance seems to improve emotional and mental conditions, and overall wellness and quality of life. Most importantly, dance therapy has been shown to work effectively alongside medical treatment and in-patient treatment settings. This improves the overall prognosis of a psychiatric disorder and emphasizes the relevance of a multi-disciplinary approach.
- to increase awareness of self and others through consciously engaging the body through shared movement (some people have never danced sober),
- to help the individual reclaim his or her body as an ally, not as an enemy,
- to help heal attachment issues and facilitate emotional intimacy with a partner,
- to alleviate mental distress/disorders.
Dance is a metaphor for life and therefore symbolic of the ways we think and feel. Carl Jung, the famous psychoanalyst, believed that we need to dance with our shadow selves in order to become whole. In dance we cannot lean too heavily on verbal expression by intellectualising, talking around issues or over-focusing on the other. Bringing the focus back to oneself has the effect of lowering these defenses and raising vulnerability. Dance therapy over time helps us become more aware of emotional obstacles we put in the way of having our needs met. It shows us how to be more comfortable with our vulnerable sides, and slowly but intentionally adjust to healthier behaviours.
Partnered dance in particular involves physical proximity which can expose emotional defenses in relationships that are otherwise carefully hidden. In other words, in dance we involuntarily convey thoughts and feelings about our anxieties through the body, and this often happens outside our conscious awareness. An awareness of an emotional issue during dance makes it difficult to hold it in a dysfunctional way. A space within us then emerges, allowing the possibility of being present in another way with this difficulty. This emerging awareness of ourselves holds the potential of really being seen in the eyes of the other. The place where the subjectivity of one person comes into contact with the subjectivity of the other is the place where the dance is created, also known as the relational space.
The process of connecting mind, heart and body helps to strengthen the sense of self so that we can be more attuned to the other in healthy ways. In other words, approaching the world more from your authentic self, not only through your mind (which always wants to protect you).
The emphasis is on structured, rather than unstructured, movement. Structured partnered movement can be especially therapeutic for people who have experienced abuse and/or disruption with early attachment, and therefore struggle with intimacy and trust. The dance usually involves a predictable routine, which encourages emotional regulation, but at the same time, provides a safe space to access feelings. Structure also helps individuals with eating disorders, who are generally afraid of emotions, to have a safe space to connect with their bodies, similarly with those who abuse substance.
A dance step is like an emotion.
It needs to be looked at from many angles,
Understood in different contexts,
and practiced regularly
with or without music so it becomes less scary.
Eventually it is internalized to fit with the unique version of you,
So that it can be authentically expressed.