Doctoral Dissertation

7.8.2018 M.A. Päivi Pylvänäinen (Faculty of Education and Psychology, Psychology)


7.8.2018 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Seminaarinmaki , S212
M.A. (Psych.) Päivi Pylvänäinen defends her doctoral dissertation in Psychology "Dance movement therapy in the treatment of depression: change in body image and mood - a clinical practice based study".

Päivi Pylvänäinen.pngOpponent Professor Sherry Goodill (Drexel University, USA) and Custos Professor Raimo Lappalainen (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English.

Dance movement therapy in the treatment of depression: Change in body image and mood - A clinical practice based study

This dissertation includes four studies of the use of dance movement therapy (DMT) in a group form in the treatment of depression at a psychiatric outpatient clinic. DMT is based on exploring the embodied experience in the here and now in the encounter between patient(s), therapist and the dance/movement. DMT is a method to develop awareness of embodiment.

This dissertation presents data from ten DMT groups, involving 62 patients who participated in and completed DMT groups during the years 2007-2013 at one psychiatric outpatient clinic. The age range of the participants was 21-61 years. To allow comparisons between DMT and treatment as usual (TAU), a control group of 12 patients was part of the quasi-experimental design in one substudy.

The studies utilised qualitative and quantitative research material. The aim was to offer interpretations of meanings about the phenomenon of body image and the particular group of patients with depression in outpatient psychiatric care. A tri-partite model of body image was applied in this study. It perceives the body image to consist of the body self, image properties, and body memory. To assess the body image contents, a verbal Body Image Assessment (BIA) was developed.

Depressed patients’ body image reflects difficulties in intra-personal and interpersonal relating. Pre- and post-intervention BIA’s showed, that a 12 x 90 mins DMT group treatment produced change for the positive in the body image of the patients with depression. DMT group treatment also reduced depressive symptoms. DMT vs. TAU comparison yielded Effect sizes of d = 0.60 – 0.97, depending on a measurement tool (BDI, HADS, SCL-90, CORE-OM), and in favor of the DMT group.

The results of this study support the view that DMT is beneficial in the treatment of depressed patients. For the individual, DMT provides tools for creating, enhancing, and maintaining a sufficient sense of safety in one’s presence and action, and developing flexibility in responding. This dissertation demonstrates the possibilities for applying movement and various practices of dance in an interactional process to support the patient’s wellbeing.

Keywords: dance movement therapy, body image, depression, group therapy, psychiatric outpatient care

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Päivi Pylvänäinen

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