Recent studies refer to physical expressions in different attachment patterns and indicate that identifying physical expressions can contribute to clinical understanding and assist in building treatment plans. However, there is a lack of research identifying and mapping physical manifestations of anxiety symptoms as they appear. Addressing this lacuna in the context of treatment can assist clinicians in devising effective treatment plans. Using a participatory observation study process, this study examined the mental and physical characteristics of children coping with anxiety symptoms during dance/movement therapy (DMT) sessions, as recorded in therapy logs of eight patients, aged 8–11 who underwent one to two years of treatment. The therapy logs were analyzed based on the Milner method for subjective autobiographical writing and psychoanalytical self-exploration. The findings revealed four themes: (1) disconnection to connection; (2) avoidance to presence; (3) merging to independence; and (4) control to release. In each theme, patterns were identified regarding movement in relation to others, body positions, movement in space, and transference and countertransference physical and mental patterns. The findings illustrate that movement occurs in the mind and body, and that physical and mental patterns coincide. Our insights can lead to a holistic understanding of how anxiety manifests in the body and mind, providing a foundation for a diagnostic model than can help in devising more effective treatment plans for children with anxiety symptoms.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s) under exclusive licence to American Dance Therapy Association.
- Anxiety physical mental manifestations
- Childhood anxiety disorders
- Dance/movement therapy for children
- Therapy logs
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health