My Experience with Creative Dance Therapy

By Jessa Freeman

I recently had the honor of exploring Creative Dance Psychology with my friend Rachel Jordana. She is a doctor in Psychology and a dance enthusiast who found the joy of movement while finishing her studies.  If it hadn’t been for her joy and fun peer pressure I don’t know that I would have gone. But something inside me said, “You really need this.”  It had been six years since I had done any sort of dance other than Zumba or going to a club. You can see my apprehension. It was five hours long: how on earth was I going to make it through five hours? I was truly mulling it over in my head when I got there, but in the end I was very happy that I had gone.

To start the workshop we “warmed up” which basically meant moving or lying on the ground or doing whatever felt great to you. To outsiders, it probably looked like crazy hippy exploration. To me, it made sense (once I put my ego and notions aside and dove in). Note that the workshop was with a group of people I had never met. It was super important to Rachel, and just as important to the group, that we didn’t judge anyone else. We were free to do as much or as little as we wanted. There was no wrong way to do it.

What did I discover after dancing, writing, dancing, writing, dancing, writing, and sharing my stress in my life right now to a total stranger while they did a medicine dance for me?

When anxiety gets in the way, get back in your body, when challenges face you and the world becomes overwhelming, get back in your body. When you don’t know what the hell is wrong, get back in your body. When you are having a mental block, get back in your body.

Chiropractors adjust your back; acupuncturists open your energy systems. But why not dance it out as well? It’s way more fun. You learn about yourself so much faster because you are in control of what you are doing. You aren’t reliant on someone else giving you their expertise. You realize that you have the power to self-heal. You already have the best answers.

If all therapy is talking, we are only audibly expressing ourselves. But a wise woman over the weekend reminded me that people learn audibly, visually and kinetically and that we can optimize our growth by appealing to all three. Dance therapy did just that. We wrote, we drew, we listened, we danced. I loved it.

So how did my body feel? I was exhausted for two days. But after those two days I discovered myself suddenly breaking out in a song I hadn’t even thought of in over 15 years. I was listening to my partner. I was owning my mistakes. I was slowing down the speed of the world inside me. I felt calm, a feeling I hadn’t had in over six months since I moved out of state and started my life over again.

My outcome in a nutshell: I have more joy. I am singing. I am eating better. I am dancing again. I am becoming a better listener. I am releasing tension on a very regular basis. I have a sense of self-care. I have stopped caring about what people think and instead drastically started caring about what my body, mind and spirit need. I am humbled.


Photo by Gregory Bartning

2 Responses to “My Experience with Creative Dance Therapy”

  1. Jennifer Lutes

    Jessa, I remember you saying “music moves me” more than once. I do think dance and all the awareness that goes with it can heal one!! I wish I had known that earlier. You look great and that’s some good writing. Now I want to hear you sing. Xxx

  2. Renee Soasey

    Jessa, these are fantastic insights and outcomes, and you shared them beautifully. Thank you!

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