The Dynamics of a Therapeutic Dance/Movement Intervention for Individuals with Brain Injuries: Comparison with Physical Therapy Using Laban Movement Analysis
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Addressing the comprehensive needs of individuals with brain injuries is a growing concern in brain injury rehabilitation as well as evaluating the efficacy of these conventional therapeutic modalities: cognitive rehabilitation, and physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Therapeutic dance/movement has not been an integral part of these core services. I have observed its potential, however, during the past thirteen years while providing this intervention to individuals with brain injuries.
The focus of this dissertation was to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of a therapeutic dance/movement intervention for individuals with brain injuries by comparing it to conventional physical therapy. Physical therapy, given its longevity in providing rehabilitative services to individuals with brain injuries, afforded a means by which to more systematically explore therapeutic dance/movement. Five individuals with brain injuries were observed and analyzed as they participated in five weekly therapeutic dance/movement sessions and five weekly physical therapy sessions. Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) was used as the observation and analytic tool for the purpose of elucidating similarities and differences between the two interventions in relation to the five case studies.
Two questions guided the inquiry: (a) What are the similarities and differences between a physical therapy intervention and a dance/movement intervention? and (b) What are the dynamics of a therapeutic dance/movement intervention?
Findings revealed that the physical therapy intervention focused specifically on body level connectivity and single joint action movement from a Body perspective. In comparison, the dance/movement intervention incorporated body level connectivity in addition to the dynamics of Breath/Core Support and Grounding , Effort-Life , Spatial Intent , and Aspects of Shape , providing the spectrum of Body , Effort , Space , and Shape ( BESS ) components in harmony with the Movement Themes: Whole/Part, Inner/Outer, Function/Expression, Exertion/Recuperation, and Mobility/Stability . The dance/movement intervention imparted an integrative mind-body approach to learning about one's Inner and Outer self and one's ability to cope with and connect to one's environment.Knowledge was added to the current literature at an opportune time in the brain injury rehabilitation field. Rehabilitation professionals are recognizing the need to transform current assumptions regarding the essential aspects of brain injury rehabilitation and seek additional non-medical model approaches to rehabilitation. This study offers a therapeutic modality along with a viable measurement tool that has the potential for meeting this need. Recommendations for future research are offered.
- Doctoral Dissertations