Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Art in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling (MA)

Department

Creative Arts Therapies

First Advisor

Susan Imus

Second Advisor

Laura Downey

Third Advisor

Kim Rothwell

Keywords

addiction, treatment

Abstract

Body-based approaches, such as dance/movement therapy (DMT), in addiction treatment can be anxiety provoking for those seeking sobriety. Strengthening the relationship between therapist and client using compassionate methods, such as guided meditation, prior to DMT sessions has, in the experience of this researcher, helped establish a safe environment in which to experience DMT. Using guided meditation as a method of creating comfort within the body aided in achieving the goal of enhancing one’s awareness of emotions, thoughts and sensations through the use of body-based methods.

Increasing self-awareness of emotions and physical sensations is an important step on the road to recovery from addiction (substance dependence/chemical dependency). Meditative practices are increasingly accepted as effective coping tools for improving mindfulness and experiencing non-judgment towards one’s negative thought patterns and/or behaviors. The purpose of this study was to provide insight into the overall conscious experience during a guided meditative state of people diagnosed with substance dependence. Using an Organic Inquiry approach, this study also examined how a dance/movement therapist may choose to guide participants through a meditative state utilizing sensorimotor psychology modes of awareness: thinking, feeling and sensorimotor (which includes inner-body sensing, movement and 5-sense perception). Results suggest that the therapeutic relationship developed through the use of guided meditation increased the participants’ overall sensorimotor awareness, decreased anxiety-producing thoughts, and enhanced self efficacy through improved stress management. By increasing body awareness and focused attention to self, participants demonstrated a greater ability to describe their present moment experience on a body-based level and a sense of relief from symptoms related to recovery from addiction.

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