Benefits of DMT
increasing self-awareness, self-esteem and personal autonomy
experiencing links between thought, feelings and actions
increasing and rehearsing adaptive coping behaviours
expressing and managing overwhelming feelings or thoughts
maximising resources of communication
contacting inner resources through contained creative movement play
testing the impact of self on others
testing inner with outer reality
initiating physical, emotional and/or cognitive shifts
developing a trusting relationship
manage feelings that interrupt learning
enhancing social interaction skills
Leens, the Netherlands
Why and how does DMT work?
Human beings have always expressed themselves in movement and dance, they have gathered to express gratitude, rites of passage or to connect with their ancestors in communal dance rituals. This well-known human behaviour can be seen as the foundation of DMT. In research literature, several models have been used to describe the process and outcome of DMT. Next, three broad theoretical frameworks are summarized.
Expressive and Creative Non-Verbal Psychotherapy
DMT is client-centered, non-verbal, bottom-up" (~body-mind) therapy. Movement is a bridge to direct experience, it allows body-based non-verbal communication and can offer a physical release of emotions. It can also be experienced as "a flow", as a creative process in interaction with the accepting other. (See e.g. Bartal & Ne'eman, 1993; Payne, 2006; Meekums, 2002; Hervey, 2000)
Neuroscience and Mirror Neurosystem
Neuroscientific research suggests that the brain has evolved as a social organ of the body. Mirror neurons are a system that links perception to action. When an intentional act is observed, the same mirror neurons will fire as when the individual observing the act enacts that same behaviour. The brain is thus hard-wired to understanding the intentions and feelings of the other; mindsight and embodiment. (See e.g. Berroll, 2006)
Individuals who have made sense of their lives achieve a certain degree of neural integration that allows them to both be internally coherent and available for interpersonal connections.The integration of the logical left with the autobiographical right side of the brain can result in a self-understanding that makes sense of one’s own life, a coherent narrative of life from inside out. (See e.g. Siegel, 1999, 2007)
Tiipii at Leighton Centre, AB
EXERCISE AND HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY
Exercise psychology examines beliefs and emotions with the primary goal of enhancing the adoption of regular exercise and its effects on psychological well-being. It studies the biological and psychological consequences of physical activity to determine its effects on mental health (Buckworth & Dishman, 2002).
What can exercise and health psychology offer?
Some of the questions considered in this context are:
- What motivates us to exercise?
- What are the experienced barriers and benefits of daily physical activity in parents with young children?
- Are preschool aged children active enough?
- How to find a balance between work and leisure?
- How can exercise relief stress?
- How much and what forms of physical activity do I need to keep fit?
- How to exercise with a chronic illness or condition, such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Multiple Scelerosis, Epilepsy or cancer?
- Are exercise and mood related?
- What is exercise dependency?
Rough Bay, BC
Our recreation has changed...
Recreation has gone from spontaneous to organized and regimented activity: parents exercise at the gym while the young play soccer and hockey in leagues in schedules rather than in the backyard or the street in the front. More time is often spent in preparing for and getting there rather than on the activity itself. (Friedman, Food for Thought, 2005)
There can be a misconception that exercise, physical activity and sport are the same, but they have quite different focuses.
Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in an expenditure of energy.
Exercise is a subset of physical activity in which activity is purposefully undertaken with the aim of maintaining or improving physical fitness and health (E.g., brisk walking, cross-country skiing, yoga, belly dancing, going to the gym).
Sport usually involves a component of competition and structure with achievement goals that may or may not include health maintenance or gain.
Physical activity or PLAY in children?
For young children, physical activity should emphasize play, not only as a way to improved energy balance, but as a means by which children experience movement, socialize and learn (Burdette & Whitaker, 2005).
Play may well be central to normal personality development. However, its place in contemporary Western society is not secure, perhaps risking the development and well-being of urban and disadvantaged children in particular (McArdle, 2001).
Bere Point, BC
Mechanisms explaining the benefits of exercise
1. Bio-Physical Mechanisms
- Change in body temperature
- Decrease in muscle tension
Metabolic and chemical pathways among the muscles, spinal cord and the brain offer plausible mechanism to explain the effects of physical activity for the central nervous system (Dishman et al., 2006).
2. Psycho-Social Mechanisms
- Perceived competence
- Perception of autonomy and control
- Social processes (e.g., affiliation with others)
- Cognitive processes (e.g., enhanced pain management)
See a new journal called Physical Activity and Mental Health for an editorial review on exercise, health and mental health: emerging relationships by Taylor & Faulkner (June 2008: www.elsevier.com/locate/menpa).
Malcolm Island, BC
In the end of this rather long background and definition section, my argument is that we all, despite our age, gender, body size, skill or health status, have an innate calling and need to move our bodies - not only to get the daily exercise but to sense ourselves as active beings, in connection to our emotions, creativity, environment and to other living beings. That is why I find it essential that we are mindful about when we need activity and rest, and if it takes place in the company of others or by ourselves.
I move to sense and I sense to move.
To find out more, please click on to other sections of this website.
Malcolm Island, BC