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Children 2019, 6(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6010014

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

1
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA
2
The Andréa Rizzo Foundation, Charlestown, RI 02813, USA
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)
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Abstract

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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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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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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