Katie’s Story: Dance/Movement Therapy

Katie’s Story: Dance/Movement Therapy


Hey, I’m Katie. This is my story
how Dance Movement Therapy helps me in my recovery from my eating
disorder. (music) Dance Movement Therapy is a way to connect with
your body and emotions through movement. A lot of the time, you
don’t use words. Just your body. I’ve been battling my eating
disorder for three years. Some people think an eating disorder
is about being skinny or that people choose to have it. But an
eating disorder comes in many forms, and for many reasons. For
me, it began when I started running. I wanted to be healthy
and strong. And running helped me quiet the overwhelming
thoughts and feelings. But after some time, something just
switched in my head and it became an unhealthy obsession. I
became a compulsive exerciser and restricter. My mind
gradually had me portioning out less and less. I became
hyper-focused on my exercise routine and eating regimen. All
that mattered was completing my runs in a strict time limit at
the same time every day. It was a schedule in my mind. Any
deviation from my routine really ticked me off. I missed out on a
lot of life because I was so much in my own head and didn’t
know how to let go. I developed body dysmorphia, which is like
looking in a funhouse mirror but you don’t know that it’s not
real. I was disconnecting from my body, and I no longer had a
relationship with myself. First, I met Erin, the Dance Movement
therapist at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Mostly I
worked with Erin one-on-one. Erin wanted me to learn to let
my body do what it wanted to do, instead of what I was making it
do. But it was awkward at first. And I was overwhelmed. I had low
self-confidence, and I did not think I was a good dancer. “Not
a good dancer, this is overwhelming, too much food, I
feel awkward”– these thoughts were like a running dialogue in
my mind, almost paralyzing. I felt like I couldn’t do it. Like
I didn’t have control. No one understood. I felt so alone.
Erin had me push against a wall. Then we played tug-of-war. This
allowed me to release my pent-up energy and to discover what I
was really feeling. I learned that I’m aggressive and
defensive to protect myself from getting hurt. If the wall comes
down, then I’m vulnerable and scared. It’s hard to let people
in and entrust so much of yourself to other people. It
helped me to have a way to express myself without words.
There’s so much going on in my head that there’s no way I can
get it all out with words. Dance Movement therapy sometimes
is about stillness, too. One day, I talked to my heart and
apologized for all the torment I put it through. Erin did a body
tracing. I identified emotions where I felt them in my body,
filling in different areas with different shapes and colors.
Sometimes Erin had me release my tension through weighted
blankets and deep pressure. There are highs and lows in
recovery and therapy. Just as there are highs and lows in
life. Dance Movement Therapy helped me get through the good
times and the bad. Dance Movement Therapy helped me
connect with myself, and with others. Dancing freely allowed
me to feel more comfortable with myself. I began to see myself
clearly. But at times I still struggle. So when I feel fear,
tension, and aggression, I dance it out! Dance Movement Therapy
gave me a wider perspective. It allows me to go from here to
here! Focusing on the cool moves detaches me from negative
thoughts and interrupts the looping in my brain. Before, I
was scared of the future and I didn’t look forward to it. It
felt like one, big obligation. Now I’m excited about the
future. Dance Movement Therapy has improved my relationships
because I’m no longer afraid to be honest with people. Honesty
strengthens your connections to others. Dance Movement Therapy
has given me a healthy outlet. It allows me to be free! (music)

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