Disturbingly, 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Eating disorders are life threatening, yet are often kept secret; as a result they are under-diagnosed. These biopsychosocial illnesses are characterized by extreme weight obsession, distorted body image and poor sense of self, and have detrimental effects on the emotional and physical health of those afflicted as well as on their families. Early detection and intervention is the key to a successful recovery and is, in fact, this year’s National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) Campaign’s primary focus. NEDA’s , 3 Minutes Can Save a Life. Get Screened. Get Help. Get Healthy theme involves a 3 minute on-line screening tool designed to lead those struggling with eating disorders towards the path to health and recovery.
Dance/movement therapy (DMT), a psychotherapeutic modality rooted in the concept of mind-body connection, is an especially powerful intervention for individuals with eating disorders. DMT is based on the principle that movement reflects patterns of thinking and feeling, and allows participants to express their thoughts and feeling states creatively through movement so that healthy patterns and increased sense of self can emerge. This supportive modality encourages each individual to re-establish a healthy connection to him or herself and achieve balance of mind, body and spirit.
Let us move past the stigmas and stereotypes, and raise awareness about this devastating affliction. We must come together and take steps to end this epidemic!
Editor’s Note: The American Dance Therapy Association is proud to once again partner with NEDAwareness Week (Feb. 21- 27) to raise awareness about the serious nature of eating disorders and to provide resources for those in need of help. You may participate in this important campaign by sharing resources via your own social media accounts and/or sharing materials at your place of employment. You may access images and resources here. Thank you for participating in this important campaign.
Further Reading and Resources:
- Dance/Movement Therapy and Eating Disorders: An ADTA Talk
- Show Me the Way to My Soul: Dance/Movement Therapy for Individuals with Eating Disorders
- National Weight Stigma Awareness Week
- National Eating Disorder Awareness website
- Informational Handout: Dance/Movement Therapy and Eating Disorders