Dance Movement Therapy for Suicide Prevention

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    • 00:02

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Dance Movement Therapy for Suicide Prevention]

    • 00:11

      SUSAN IMUS: My name is Susan Imus,and I'm a board certified dance movement therapist,a licensed clinical professional counselor,and a certified movement analyst.I'm an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, whereI chair the Department of Creative Arts Therapies.In this tutorial today, I'm goingto talk with you about dance movementtherapy and its approach in suicide prevention.

    • 00:35

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: One of the most unique contributionsthat dance movement therapy makes in suicide preventionis in the addition and the education of body signals.Body signals are added to the identificationof risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors.And I'll be talking with you about all three of these today.

    • 00:58

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: Suicide is the 10th leading causeof death in the United States.And it's actually the third leading cause of deathfor adolescents and the second leading cause of deathfor young adults.That's why suicide prevention is so important for high schoolstudents and college campuses.

    • 01:18

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: [How is Dance Movement Therapy utilized?]So how is dance movement therapy utilized in suicide prevention?What we do is we help draw upon movement analysisin our training and skills in helping someone understandabout their own body awareness and the bodysignals that happen in the interrelationship with others.

    • 01:41

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: We teach people about postural changesand how postural changes can actuallybe a reflection of someone's mood.We help people understand what happens with eye contact,and how eye contact can be indicative of changesin socialization that, perhaps, are related to isolation.

    • 02:01

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: We also learn about tension flow and whathappens when somebody's tension change-- when maybe they'rein passive use of weight or they're timing elementchanges in their orientation to pacing in their lives.All of these things and these elementsare awareness of movement dynamicsthat bespeak a person's personalityand also can reflect someone's illness that are oftentimesrelated to a mental illness.

    • 02:33

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: An example is, with somebody with bipolar disorder,you can see a change in their physical wayof being when they experience mania.They have increased timing in their life.Everything speeds up.They might talk louder or be stronger in their movements.They might be more scattered in their approach to space.

    • 02:56

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: We help people recognize these thingsthrough the language of movement.Where in contrast, someone who's depressedmight have a shift in their posture--might have a very condensed or an enclosed use of their space,resist making eye contact, and have a different useof the tension in their body, because they'rein contracture or even in an extreme catatonic statewith serious depression.

    • 03:25

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: These are all elements that movement can help us identify.[Risk factors]So risk factors are stressful eventsthat can add to the likelihood that someonemay attempt to die by suicide.

    • 03:46

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: Warning signs may be feelings of hopelessness, helplessness,or affect that causes one to isolate themselves--and in the late stages, possibly even give away their belongingsor start talking about a plan to end their life.So dance movement therapy-- whichincorporates movement analysis-- helps us identify someof these movement behaviors that we knoware illustrative of feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.

    • 04:21

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: And we teach people in these workshops--learn how to become aware of the bodysignals that are demonstrative of this affector behavioral change in someone whomight have ideas of suicide.[Body signals]Dance movement therapy is crucial for suicide prevention,because it really helps incorporatea new way of being in relationship.

    • 04:46

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: It helps one learn to be in relationship with themselves,and we call that the interpersonal awareness--their body awarenesss-- and it also helps teach someonehow to develop an interpersonal relationship through movement.And that is through understandingsomeone else's body signals.

    • 05:06

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: The body signals of others that may be a cause of concernare significant changes in someone's posture,someone's eye focus, facial expression, use of energy,use of tension in the body.All of these things, brought together,can be indicators of serious changes in either someone'spersonality or in a disease process that is perhapsunderway.

    • 05:36

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: [Protective factors]Now I'm going to talk about protective factors.What I mean by that are positive conditionsthat help promote someone's resiliency in life-- thingslike having good social support, belonging to communityorganizations, having family members and playfulenvironments to balance the work life.

    • 06:01

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: It might be a pet that you spend time withor good friends that you go out and do things with.These are all protective factors.[How does Dance Movement Therapy help?]So dance movement therapy can help support and promotepositive feelings in someone's life,help teach the skills-- or the life skills-- thatcan help one increase their ability to be resilient.

    • 06:30

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: That might include things like stress management skills--learning to move and be more active to changeyour biochemistry.It might be to learn how to change your breathing whenyou know you're going to be in an experience thatmight cause anxiety in your life.

    • 06:51

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: We can teach a lot of these skillsthat support and increase someone's abilityto move through stressful situationsby changing how you move to change how you feel,how you think, and how you actually experience life.Suicide prevention is no longer delegatedto the professional working with one individual in a hospitalsetting.

    • 07:16

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: Suicide prevention now takes a public mental health approach.So community is essential in helping prevent this problem.Dance movement therapy does a wonderful jobof increasing socialization and in help developing communitiesat a group level.We help one have a sense of belonging--not only to the group, but to oneself.

    • 07:41

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: And that can promote confidence and promote enhanced resiliencythroughout their life.90% of the suicides in the United Statesare from someone suffering with a mental illness.This isn't true in every culture around the world.Some cultures have socioeconomic factorsas the main cause for suicide.

    • 08:02

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: A change in their economy or a loss of their businesscan bring about shame.And we know in one country, South Korea-- whichhas the leading number of suicides in the world-- itis because of these types of factors.[Best practice]In the suicide prevention that I run,which is called "Making Connections,"we incorporate all best practice,which is to review of the risk factors, the warningsigns, the protective factors, safe messaging,and incorporating a public mental health model.

    • 08:37

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: The one thing we do add is the body signals,and that is our unique approach from a dance movement therapyperspective.[Key points-- Risk factors, Warning sign detection,Protective factors, Body signals]In this tutorial, you have learned about dance movementtherapy's contributions to suicide prevention-- howdance movement therapy is valuable in risk factorsand in your warning sign detection becauseof our understanding of movement assessment and its application.

    • 09:09

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: And in addition, we are valuable in teaching protective factorsby incorporating the body as a wayto provide additional resiliency in someone's life.So dance movement therapy teachespeople to assess their own inner experience of their movementin their bodies in addition to learning and identifyingthe body signals of others.

    • 09:33

      SUSAN IMUS [continued]: The most important thing to take away from this tutorialis the importance of the body and its movementin helping us understand what may be going on in someone'slife that really would need a community support.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Dance Movement Therapy for Suicide Prevention

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In this tutorial dance movement therapy is discussed in the context of suicide prevention. By looking at how stress and isolation may impact body orientation and movement dynamics, movement analysis can help in identifying suicidal risk factors and warning signs. Additionally, dance movement therapy can help increase a person's resiliency and strengthen protective factors; further reducing suicide risk.

SAGE Video Tutorials
Dance Movement Therapy for Suicide Prevention

In this tutorial dance movement therapy is discussed in the context of suicide prevention. By looking at how stress and isolation may impact body orientation and movement dynamics, movement analysis can help in identifying suicidal risk factors and warning signs. Additionally, dance movement therapy can help increase a person's resiliency and strengthen protective factors; further reducing suicide risk.

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