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Dance Therapy

Posted August. 08, 2004 22:06,   


“Shall we dance?”

Smooth and delightful social dance steps may help open up the closed minds of schizophrenia patients.

Gone are the dark faces the patients used to have while they seriously followed each different step, replaced by delighted faces with beads of sweat.

Professor Kim Chang-yun and his medical team in the mental health department at Asan Medical Center, Seoul have been holding eight-week “dance therapy” courses with schizophrenia patients since April. According to the results, a group of patients showed improvements in symptoms such as melancholia and sentiment atrophy.

Schizophrenia afflicts one percent of the population in the nation. Patients can improve their symptoms through medicinal and counseling therapies, but tinnitus, delusion, and anthrophobia are not fully eliminated in most cases.

“Schizoid patients can have troubles with motion due to the side effects of medicinal therapy. A casual dance, along with physical therapy, can help medical staff to examine their patients’ symptoms” explained Dr. Kim.

The one-hour long dance therapy session begins every Friday at one p.m. Patients and in-house medical staff, such as doctors, nurses, and social workers, dance together hand-in-hand to the tune of Latin rhythms.

Mrs. Lee (35), a patient in the therapy group, said, “ I am very pleased because I have one topic that I can joyfully share with my family,” adding, “I only used to wander around my apartment everyday, but I happened to put on make-up in front of a mirror when I go to the hospital once a week.”

Resident Lee Jae-hyun (32), who runs the dance therapy program, said, “ Patients open their minds up through experiencing casual physical contact, and they comfortably start talking to each other, which is very beneficial for their treatments.”

TK Sohn sohn@donga.com