Dancing Through Dementia: Review and Referral

This Dancing Through Dementia blog series was designed to introduce people to the field of dance/ movement therapy (DMT). It has focused on how dance/movement therapy can benefit individuals who are living with dementia and provided basic techniques to professionals outside of the field. Now you may be asking yourself, how do I find dance/movement therapy professionals, where is DMT available and how much does this service cost? First a recap:

What is Dance/Movement Therapy?

Dance/movement therapy, according to the American Dance Therapy Association, is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, social, and spiritual integration of the individual. Dance/movement therapy supports that mind, body, and spirit are connected and that individuals should be treated in such a way that supports integration of these three entities.

Why should dance/movement therapy be used?

  • Encourages activation of memories and emotions
  • Creates awareness of unconscious experiences
  • Enhances neurological and physiological responses
  • Explores innate movement behaviors
  • Provides externalization of emotions and experiences
Now that we have reviewed what DMT is and why it is used, let’s talk about referrals. How do we know when dance/movement therapy is an appropriate intervention?

When should a referral to a dance/movement therapist be made?

  • When talk therapy is at a standstill
  • When a client is having many physical symptoms that are not otherwise explained.
  • When a client speaks or complains about body specific symptoms
  • When a client has difficulty with verbal communication.

Where can dance/movement therapy be found?

Dance/movement therapists are working in nursing homes, rehab centers, and memory care facilities all over Chicagoland. Often times they are working in expressive therapy or program service departments. If you work in or your clients live in a facility, check to see if there are any dance/movement therapists employed there. If this is not the case, there are agencies and private therapists that can provide this service in facilities and in homes across the greater Chicago area.

How much does this cost?

Dance/movement therapy can be billed by some private insurance providers. Since most dance/ movement therapists are also licensed counselors or mental health professionals, dance/movement therapy can be billed as psychotherapy. Costs will depend on each individual therapist’s rate, but some will provide a sliding scale or a discounted rate. Now that you know about dance/movement therapy and how it can be used in clinical practice, I encourage you to look for ways to integrate it with your current clients. Thank you to Kristen Pavle for editing this post 

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