An Introduction to Medical Dance/Movement Therapy: Health Care in Motion

By Sharon W. Goodill | Go to book overview

Preface

It was just over a decade ago when David Eisenberg's acclaimed study out of Harvard unearthed the fact that millions of Americans spend billions of unreimbursed health care dollars yearly on complementary and alternative therapies (Eisenberg et al. 1993). This news, and the society's renewed interest in the mind/body connection and body oriented therapies, created opportunities for dance/movement therapy (DMT) in the modern arenas of wellness and in medical settings. I was drawn into this in 1993, with the fortunate awarding of a research grant from the newly formed Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institute of Health (NIH). I learned that there was a legacy of DMT work with medical patients, and a strong interest among dance/movement therapists in this application.

It seems timely to gather together in one place the creative and interesting work with medical patients in our field, and this book is the first known publication with that specific purpose. The many examples, projects, studies, written and presented works, when amassed, suggest that there is indeed a discernible specialty of the profession, which I presume to call [medical dance/movement therapy.] In using this descriptor, I am simply following two of our sister specialties in the creative arts therapies: art and music therapy, where several volumes on their medical specializations have been published.

My method for researching the book could best be described as systematic literature review. This involves locating, surveying, organizing and synthesizing the known and available studies in a discipline or topic area. The primary domain includes clinical work, research and thinking within the field of DMT. For this, the literature was supplemented by a series of interviews with dance/movement therapists who have focused their work on medical populations. For coverage of the relevant domains outside the DMT literature, I made several choices about scope and topic, based mostly on my own experiences working in an academic health care system for several years. Having observed the success of health psychology in general health care, I turned to theory and research in that discipline for several constructs and approaches that might be useful in our thinking. Then, because of the primacy of the mind/body connection in DMT, I brought in scientific information that links physiology with behavior and with internal, subjective states. In

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