The influence of dance and movement therapy (DMT) on the body image of female adolescents

  • J Fourie
  • AC Lessing
Keywords: Dance and movement, therapy, body image, self-confidence, wellbeing.


The excessive emphasis in the media on low body weight and body appearance may contribute to adolescents’ dissatisfaction with their own physical appearance. As physical attractiveness becomes very important during adolescence this discontent could result in a negative body image. This article reflects on a qualitative research study to determine the therapeutic value and influence of Dance and Movement Therapy (DMT) on the body image of six female adolescents. The interpretive phenomenological analysis method was used for the processing of data gathered by means of unstructured interviews and the discussion of compiled collages and personal reflective documents. The participants experienced DMT positively as an opportunity to express their feelings by means of movement and the self-exploration contributed to an improvement in self-knowledge. Furthermore, it was found that DMT enhanced acceptance of physical characteristics; that adolescents’ definition of beauty was extended to include aspects of the inner self as well as personality; that discovery of the self and positive feelings about the self and others; and that DMT contributed to self-confidence. Thus, DMT improved the self-consciousness, body image and low self-concepts of the participants, which makes it a valuable tool to address the wellbeing and self-actualisation of the adolescents.

Keywords: Dance and movement, therapy, body image, self-confidence, wellbeing.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939