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Being present

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Topics: 
approaches to dementia care, arts and theatre, music and dance

As you might be aware my first blog looks at how Dance Movement Psychotherapy can be used as a therapeutic tool to help benefit individuals living with dementia. My second blog will be exploring how “Being Present” is important for both therapist and client when engaging in therapy.

When facilitating my work with people with dementia, I have found that in order for them to gain awareness and recognition of themselves is by being present in the body. This helps people to gain bodily awareness, which may or may not trigger certain memories (body memory) for this individual when moving or stretching in a particular way.

Dance Movement Psychotherapy supports and guides individuals through a journey of movement and gestures, helping people with dementia to feel and experience being present.[HK1] 

For example, I recently facilitated one-to-one sessions with an individual living with dementia who struggled to communicate verbally and physically. In order to assist with this individual’s recovery I offered various therapeutic interventions to help them to communicate but struggled to achieve this. During the 5th session I introduced music and song – 1930s Jazz and blues to be exact, and it was through this that humming began to resonate from this individual which then gradually developed into a dance-like trance. Sweeping and swaying movements were introduced which I then supported and mirrored to support the dance we were dancing.

It was at that moment that I felt a connection between both of us which flourished throughout the session – this was simply through the use of music and song, but not just any song! A song that had lived in this individual’s body memories and now lived again, once played and moved with. To me it was reading both body and mind through something significant and sentimental to this one individual.

I felt lucky to have experienced such an experience with an individual who was being heard, moved and present.

 

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