Dance therapy as a psychotherapeutic treatment concept was developed in the USA and established itself in Germany in the early 1970s. According to the definition of the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA), dance therapy is a psychotherapeutic procedure that understands movement as a process. It reflects the emotional, physical and cognitive aspects of a person. This can be used to achieve or strengthen the integration of these aspects.
Dance therapy has not developed directly from a psychological-psychotherapeutic approach, but from dance. The dancers Trudi Schoop (California; 1903-1999) and Lilian Espenak (Norway; 1908-1988) were the first to look at existing psychological schools of deep psychology and set theories in motion. Further theoretical contributions came from humanistic psychology.
Various techniques and elements can be used in dance therapy: Breathing, body movement, creative expression, relaxation, communication, verbalisation and reflection.
Dance is used free of technical regulations and dance forms, for self-expression and for communication through movement. The field of application of dance therapy is broadly diversified and not restricted in age.
Dance therapy can be applied individually or as group therapy and can serve diagnostic purposes, offer opportunities for self-awareness or be used for psychotherapeutic treatment.
Dance therapy serves the goal of finding (back) to a self-determined rhythm and to become able to to look at oneself and one's social relationas a creative, responsible and well-grounded person, capable of acting and functioning in life.