Dance/Movement therapy and resilience building with female asylum seekers and refugees: a phenomenological practice based research

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Abstract

This phenomenological study aims to better understand the applicability of Dance/Movement therapy for traumatised women asylum seekers and refugees. It explores if and how bodily engagement could support an existing resilience based treatment model employed at a centre for transcultural psychiatry in the Netherlands. The sessions focused on moving the body and included the use of music, props, mirroring techniques, body awareness and movement exploration exercises. Participation in the sessions was associated with self-reported alleviation of stress and addressed vulnerabilities. Additionally, movement and bodily engagement offered opportunities for body awareness, and interconnectedness with other group members. A key finding was that Dance/Movement therapy provided a shared safe psychological space for self-expression among this vulnerable population, and can be incorporated into a resilience based treatment programme with adaptations for context.

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