Exploring the Mind Body Connection

Mind-Body Therapies work on our subconscious emotional process and activate the innate resources that are used to restore harmony and health.

It is essential to be “mindful of the body” in therapy:

Over 80% of the way we communicate with ourselves and others is nonverbal. Why limit our ability to heal anxiety, depression, and chronic stress, for example, if we can heal both body and mind?

The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) defines dance/movement therapy as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual.

How the mind-body connection works:

  • Neuroplasticity: The brain (structure, activation, neuronal connection, thought, and emotion) literally changes when we move our bodies

  • Neurogenesis: Building new neurons and discarding old one —> Maladaptive habits/patterns become new practices of self-love and acceptance

  • Attention & Focus: Attending with interest and energy —> Here is where “mirror neurons” spark transformation in DMT sessions (More on this in my next blog)

  • Clarification of Emotions: Buried emotions or disassociation can be uncovered and processes through movement and creativity. Brain imaging shows us that each emotion fires in a different part of the brain: Using movement and mindfulness interventions are away of transforming emotions felt in the body and in our patterns of thinking.

  • The Power of Positivity: Focusing on strengths overcomes negativity. Movement in therapy or coaching practices, is a direct way to ignite the hormones and neurons responsible for happiness, clarity, and a sense of well-being. Through the lens of authenticity and then, positivity we overcome negative loops to strengthen self-esteem and confidence.

“The mind and emotions are viewed as influencing the body, as the body, in turn, influences the mind and emotions” (Selhub, 2007).

Studies have shown that mind-body skills programs are effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression long after the programs ends! Effective programs include:

  • Meditation

  • Guided imagery

  • Breathing techniques

  • Autogenic Training

  • Biofeedback

  • Genograms

  • Self-Expression through movement and drawing

This article has been adapted from the VISTAS Project by the American Counseling Association with focus on applications to a Dance/Movement Therapy methodolody (VISTAS PROJECT, Lemon & Wagner, Article 55, 2013)

For more information about Body-Mind Connections programs available to you, reach out to Jennifer Giuglianotti, MS, BC-DMT, LCAT at tapjeng@gmail.com