Dance is not therapy, but it can be therapeutic, and the 5Rhythms & Movement Medicine maps offer many possibilities for following processes informed by contemporary Western psychology and psychotherapy. These involve the use of dance as a way of exploring the psyche, contacting the unconscious and effecting psychological change.

The dancefloor can occur as a kind of theatre of the psyche; stepping onto it the dancer may well come face-to-face with psychological patterns, obstacles and challenges which are familiar from day-to-day life, (both on the personal and the collective levels). This might include: (for example) resistance, judgement, habitual ways of relating, recurrent emotions, incessant thinking, spiritual disconnection - or many other things. Two main approaches are used when working in this way. One is to dance in search of cathartic release: dancing deeply with and through the pattern or wound, until it is somehow released or alchemised by the transformative intensity of the dance. The other is to use the dance to observe what is going on psychologically, to embody and name this, thus activating a possibility of choice, and then to formulate and practice alternative ways of being. These approaches are both valid, and are probably most effective when used in tandem.

Ecstatic dance can be profoundly catalytic, throwing up personal challenges and breakthroughs along the road of healing and transformation. A personal therapy space of some kind can help to hold, process and deepen the journeys of the dancefloor through direct one-to-one support.

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