Abstract: This minor thesis reports an attempt to describe and understand moments of experiential meaning within the dance therapy process for a patient with dementia. It also documents an attempt to develop a methodology which could adequately grasp the complexities of such an experience. A phenomenological approach with its emphasis on allowing the phenomenon to reveal itself through multiple perspectives seemed the most appropriate for this study. However, while phenomenology influenced the format of the dance therapy sessions as well as the constitution and analysis of the data, ultimately a hermeneutic analysis was employed for further explication of the material. The study consisted of four individual dance therapy sessions with an 85 year old patient with moderate dementia. The researcher/therapist worked improvisationally and a music therapist provided improvised music.After the sessions, all of which were videotaped, the patient was videotaped viewing the dance session video, in order to obtain her verbal or non-verbal responses to the material. It was decided to focus on the "significant moments", selected intuitively as moments which seemed high points of the session. A naive description was made, on which an adaptation of Giorgi's four-phase method of analysis was applied. Certain foci, such as energy flow, were identified and individually described. In time, it became clear that the written descriptions alone were insufficient and that reflection would need to cover all the material from multiple sources and perspectives. This was done, and the data were later further explicated by reference to writings on dance therapy, dance aesthetics and the philosophical concept of the embodied self, and Sacks's neurological writings on the awakened self.The conclusions of the research were that the patient was not only transformed within the dance session and able to re-create aspects of her old self, but also underwent, through the experience as a whole (the dance and the reflection upon it, facilitated by the video viewing), a change in awareness, through which she reintegrated the past with the present and, in her words, came "out of the cupboard...into the brightness"
Thesis (Masters.) - La Trobe University, 1995.
Originally part of the Australasian Digital Theses (ADT) database.
Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfilment for the requirements for the degree of Master of Education [to the Graduate School of Education], Faculty of Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora.
This thesis contained third party copyright material which has been removed. The thesis author retains all proprietary rights (such as copyright and patent rights) over all other content of this thesis, and has granted La Trobe University permission to reproduce and communicate this version of the thesis.