A Meta Analysis of Dance Therapy based research with diverse populations by the Pune batch
Claudia D’Mello and Vrutti Joshi
Dance is an experience that takes us on a journey beyond words. It is a unique physical discipline in which emotional, psychological, spiritual, intellectual and creative energies are unified and harmonized.
Dance movement therapy is practiced and applied in various places, such as eating disorder rehabilitation centres, medical and educational settings, and other health promoting programs. Specialized forms of Dance movement therapy have been shown to aid in various types of diseases and disabilities.
As part of the DMT course in Artsphere, Pune all the students were expected to complete a 72 hour internship and submit an APA style research report. We have listed some of the research findings of the students who worked with diverse populations.
Janhavii Pathak and Smrutika Parekh conducted a research on the implications of DMT on patients suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. The study was conducted with the patients of a rehabilitation center in Pune. The results derived from the post test data showed positive effects in the areas of physical factors (body attitude, physical contact, movement quality, energy level, memory, group co-ordination) Spatial factors, emotional factors (level of trust, phobias, anxiety, self-esteem, motivation, tolerance etc.), cognitive factors and social factors. Overall changes were noted in the participants, by their counsellors as well as by themselves.
DMT was studied as a medium of therapy for Stress Management in Corporates, by Ketaki Salvi. The purpose of the study was to study the effect of DMT on stress management as a state, in employees in the industrial environment. Psychological Online-stress test by Lovibond & Lovibond, who developed the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale 42, was the test administered as a pretest and post-test measure. Various factors like anger, conflict, anxiety, negative emotions, muscle tension, depression and more were considered. There was a significant reduction in stress and mood swings after the sessions, as revealed by the post test.
Dance movement therapy was studied as an intervention, to enhance the cognitive abilities in children with learning difficulties by Dr. Vasanthi Subramaniam. There were 6 boys in the age group of 13-14 years who participated in the sessions; the results were derived with pretest and post-test measures of individual and group coding tests. The study tested the effectiveness of DMT on enhancing areas of cognition like concentration, attention, visual-auditory span, memory, visual-auditory processing and understanding academic concept. It was found that dance movement therapy activities done during sessions had immense positive effects on the children facing learning issues. The effects of this therapy also translated into better academic performance by the children. The study effectively demonstrates that DMT enhances cognitive abilities in children with learning disabilities.
A similar study was conducted by Priyanka Jayram to explore the effectiveness of DMT as a treatment for Attention Deficiency Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms of poor impulse control, lack of concentration and inattention in children. The study was conducted on 6 students (age: 9-13 years) in Mumbai. The results revealed less tension in the upper body and evident improvement in eye & hand coordination among the students. An increased efficiency in memory skills and reduced body tension was noted.
Another study conducted by Arti Belpathak and Dr. Radhika Rawat explored the role of dance movement therapy in enhancing communication skills, self-esteem and body image of adolescents in a residential school. It was observed that the children experienced various processes such as body awareness, connection to the soul, increased attention span and emotion management among others.
A study was conducted by Sonal Patil & Rashmi Bandekar on girls with mental disabilities to improve their body awareness. The objective of the study was to determine if dance movement therapy improved body awareness, emotion management, attitude of acceptance and comfort level with good touch among adolescent girls with mental disabilities. The results indicated that DMT was an effective therapeutic technique in a special school setting.
A similar study to focus on dance movement therapy as a learning intervention for children with ADHD was conducted by Riddhi Jani on 16 children studying in standard 3rd, 4th and 5th in Rosary Primary school. Vanderbilt ADHD scale for teacher and parents were used. The post-test showed remarkable effect of DMT on Hyperactivity, Social Skill and Self-Esteem, but negligible effect was found on attention span, impulsivity and academic performance.
Another study conducted by Vaishali Vyas and Shubhangi Khasnis studied the effect of DMT on housewives of age group 32-48 years. There were 8 participants who attended the sessions for 3 months. The free online version of the Rosenberg Self esteem Scale was used to measure the self-esteem of the participants (pretest and post-test measures). The post-tests revealed higher levels of self-esteem, stamina, emotional expression, self-confidence, improved body image, reduced stress levels among other positive effects.
Dance movement therapy was studied as an intervention for enhancing self-esteem of student nurses by Ketaki Salvi. The study was conducted on 6 students. The Rosenberg Self Esteem Test was conducted as a pretest and post-test measure. There was a significant improvement in self-esteem after the sessions, as the post-tests revealed.
A study conducted by Megha Hindocha also focused upon improvement of levels of self-esteem of school going students living in slums. The post-test measures on the Rosenberg Self-esteem scale revealed improved self-esteem.
Akshata Parekh & Pooja Karkera studied the effectiveness of DMT as a tool to enhance the quality of life of senior citizens aged 60 years and above at an old age home. The post-test results revealed improvement in the quality of their movements, cognitive skills, quality of improvisations, body structure, reduced slouching, reduction in chronic pains, more self-expression through words and movement and improvement in their range of movement.
The review of researches conducted by various researchers focuses upon the effectiveness of dance movement therapy as an intervention to bring about positive therapeutic and overall changes and well-being. Dance Movement Therapy is a vast, relatively upcoming, promising therapeutic technique which holds immense potential and scope for undeterred development, healing and therapy.