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Open AccessArticle

Children Are Born to Dance! Pediatric Medical Dance/Movement Therapy: The View from Integrative Pediatric Oncology

by Suzi Tortora 1,2
1
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA
2
The Andréa Rizzo Foundation, Charlestown, RI 02813, USA
Children 2019, 6(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6010014
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrative Medicine in Pediatric Oncology)
Children freely expressing themselves through spontaneous dance is a natural part of childhood. The healing powers of dance are universal in all cultures across history. Dance/movement therapy (DMT) in pediatric oncology is little known and underutilized. This article discusses DMT, specifically focusing on pediatric oncology. It defines and clarifies the difference between medical DMT as a psychotherapeutic modality aimed at addressing the patient’s psychosocial needs, and dance and therapeutic dance used recreationally to engage patients during their hospital visits. A literature review of DMT with medically ill children in the United States and worldwide is provided. It culminates with a focus on advancements in the field, discussing the future of pediatric medical DMT. Grounded in a biopsychosocial perspective, the intrinsically nonverbal and embodied nature of pediatric medical DMT is uniquely positioned to be a strong component of integrative oncology services. The use of DMT to synthesize potentially traumatic aspects of the medical experience is proposed. It ends with a call for research posing the question: Can pediatric medical DMT support the patient to express feelings while in cancer treatment within the context of a psychotherapeutic milieu, enabling the patient to create an embodied coherent narrative that fosters expressivity and empowerment? View Full-Text
Keywords: pediatric cancer; integrative oncology; integrative medicine; dance/movement therapy; dance therapy; dance/movement psychotherapy; trauma and PTSD; complementary and alternative medicine; symptom management; creative arts therapy pediatric cancer; integrative oncology; integrative medicine; dance/movement therapy; dance therapy; dance/movement psychotherapy; trauma and PTSD; complementary and alternative medicine; symptom management; creative arts therapy
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Tortora, S. Children Are Born to Dance! Pediatric Medical Dance/Movement Therapy: The View from Integrative Pediatric Oncology. Children 2019, 6, 14.

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