Chapter 23. Dance/movement therapy with traumatized dissociative patients

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In this chapter, we describe dissociation and dissociative identity disorder (DID) and the value of dance/movement therapy (DMT) with traumatized dissociative child and adult patients. Most patients with dissociative states have suffered trauma during childhood and have recurring traumatic memories, loss of time (dissociative amnesia), and physical stress (i.e., stress on the sensorimotor level often relieved by self-harm on the bodily level). In order to address trauma that occurred on the body level, we consider therapy on the body level to be an important part of a multidisciplinary approach. The first part of the chapter contains some general thoughts on the phenomenon of dissociation and how to address it in DMT. The second part of the chapter provides a case vignette of an abused child experiencing dissociation and five adult group therapy case vignettes in the context of a clinical DMT session designed to help DID patients. In the end, we present principles of movement therapy from work with dissociative children and adults.


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