Kinesthetic ability and the development of empathy in Dance Movement Therapy
Abstract:This study investigates the relationship between change in kinesthetic ability and the development of empathy in a group of Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) trainees. Art Therapy and Social Science students served as comparison groups. A field study was conducted using a quasi-experimental pre-post control group design. Participants were 62 graduate students. A standard self-report measure of empathy was used, and kinesthetic ability was evaluated using a table of movement dimensions based on Laban Movement Analysis (LMA). In addition, DMT participants were interviewed regarding perceived change in empathy and in movement ability. The results suggested an increase in kinesthetic ability among the DMT cohort. The self-report measure of empathy suggested no significant change in all groups, and yet, interviews of the DMT trainees showed an increase in empathy. Standardized empathy scores were correlated with increasing kinesthetic ability displayed in outward movement, echoing and sunken posture. The results suggest that empathy can be developed through training for the benefit of the emotional health of both patients and trainees.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Haifa
Publication date: 2011-08-22
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