Therapeutic Performance: When Private moves into Public

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores whether the use of choreography, dance technique and performance in dance/movement psychotherapy (DMP) hinders or enhances the therapeutic process and how these modes of practice might impact the patient/client’s well-being. The therapeutic performance, as developed within a DMP context, is defined and described using examples from the author's practice as an active performer and dance movement psychotherapist. The use of choreographic tools, and specific dance styles in DMP is also explored. Questions of ethics and confidentiality are examined vis-à-vis the inherent cathartic nature of performance, and the delicate balance therapists negotiate between the powerful facets of dance, and the need to adjust to constraints by work settings, patient/clients’ requests and the social connectivity that underlies the practice. This chapter aims to explore an underdeveloped area within the field, focusing on the therapeutic potential of dance-based interventions which include public performances of movement created during the sessions, to maintain a clinical balance between the private self within the session, and the public self that others witness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeing
EditorsVassiliki Karkou, Sue Oliver, Sophia Lycouris
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199949298
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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