Schizophrenia can be a long-term disabling illness. The most common treatments for people with this condition are medication (antipsychotics) and talking therapies, especially cognitive behavioural therapy and family therapy. These treatments work well for people with ‘positive’ symptoms (hearing voices and other alterations of the senses) and delusions (distortions in the way the world is seen). However people experiencing ‘negative’ symptoms (such as flattening of mood, poverty of speech, lack of drive, loss of feeling, social withdrawal and decreased spontaneous movement) do not respond as well.
Dance therapy (also called dance movement therapy) uses dance and movement to explore a person’s emotions in a non-verbal way. The therapist will help the individual to interpret their movement as a link to personal feelings. This review aims to assess how successful this therapy is as a treatment for schizophrenia, when compared to standard care or other interventions. Six studies were identified but five were excluded because there were no reliable data, because they were for a therapy other than dance or because they were not properly randomised. The included study compared 10 weeks of group dance therapy plus standard care, to group supportive counselling plus standard care for the same length of time. It was a community-based project involving 45 people and both groups were followed up after four months.