Over Memorial Day weekend local dance/movement therapists in Washington, D.C.  volunteered their time and services to co-lead dance/movement therapy grief groups for children sponsored by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS,  part of the Military and Veteran Caregiver Network, serves families who have experienced the loss of a loved one in the military.  This Good Grief Camp, held annually, pairs young survivors with active duty military mentors and provides grief services. Over the past four years in Washington, D.C., Good Grief Camp has offered 60 minute dance/movement therapy sessions to groups of children as part of its program, thanks to the professionals who have donated their time.

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Volunteer dance/movement therapists at TAPS’ Good Grief Camp (left to right) Catherine Davidson, Nalini Prakash and ADTA President Jody Wager

Several dance/movement therapists including Nalini Prakash, Catherine Davidson and Jody Wager (pictured above) co-facilitated dance/movement therapy sessions designed to help children dance and move in honor of their loved ones who were killed in military action.

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Children and active duty military mentors following dance/movement therapy directive to create a sculpture one pose at a time, embodying the feelings and qualities related to “missing” loved ones. Words such as: strong, family, love, joy, peace, survivor, brave, sad, and many more, were shared through improvised postures.
When asked about her experience, dance/movement therapist and dance/movement therapy coordinator for Good Grief Camp Brigitta White stated, “We have gained an understanding of movement specific themes that represent combat and being a warrior.  We have been touched by the virtue and honor that the lovely, young military children have shown us as we become their therapeutic witness. Heart-felt grief work with this population has shown us the courage and strength of military culture.”
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Children, ages seven to nine, interacting with active duty military mentors during the closing of a dance/movement therapy session at Good Grief Camp. The closing sculptures created by the participants were a way to bring the session to an end.

Good Grief Camps are scheduled in major cities through out the year. Dance/movement therapy has been a beneficial part of Good Grief Camp in Washington, D.C., but more dance/movement therapists are needed to ensure all campers receive dance/movement therapy as part of their experience. If you would like to volunteer time and services to TAPS visit their volunteer site.

 

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