Dance Movement Therapy as an Approach to Healthy Body Image in Women and Girls
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Body image has a significant impact on health and well-being, however, society has deemed body image dissatisfaction as a normative experience in women and girls. There is a lack of emphasis on developing healthy body image in women and girls, especially those in non-clinical populations. This capstone explores the question: What impact does Dance Movement Therapy have on promoting healthy body image in a diverse, nonclinical, group of women and girls? Literature on body image as a construct is reviewed including cognitive, behavioural, emotional, perceptual and attitudinal components, as well as embodiment. The literature reveals that significant influences on women and girls’ body image include media, peer relationships, and caregiver relationships. Self-esteem, attachment style, religion and spirituality are also linked to body image. Current interventions for body image are reviewed, including CBT, EFT, EFFT, RO-DBT, Mindfulness-based therapies, Self-Compassion interventions and Yoga-based therapies. Literature on Dance Movement Therapy is reviewed including history, neuroscience, and techniques. A six-week Dance Movement Therapy program for fostering healthy body image in a diverse, non-clinical population of women and girls is proposed, outlining session topics, goals and activities. In light of the findings and suggestions, implications for counselling and future research are discussed.