Dance & Arts Therapy NZ, Keeps On Dancing

"We are incredibly proud to share the positive impact that our programmes have had on the children with whom we work."
Client & Funding Coordinator Chanri Bezuidenhout

NZCT has awarded a grant of $8,000 to Dance & Arts Therapy NZ to support their clinical groups, Arts 4 Us and STARS in Auckland.

Client & Funding Coordinator Chanri Bezuidenhout says -

We are incredibly proud to share the positive impact that our programmes have had on the children with whom we work. As one parent shared, "Her self regulation has developed and she now has several strategies that work wonderfully. She's happy in herself and relaxed at sessions (this is huge as it's the only group activity she can manage due to her high anxiety). She has wonderful therapists and looks forward to her sessions."

Another parent noted the remarkable changes they have seen in their child - "The biggest change we have seen is his ability to feel the emotion (anger, frustration), express the emotion, then sit with that feeling to process it. Whereas before, he would be very aggressive.” It is both inspiring and heart-warming to see how our programme has helped them manage their anxiety and find joy in group activities.

These quotes demonstrate the positive impact that our programmes have on the lives of these children, helping them to develop important life skills and cope with the challenges they face. This transformation is a testament to the effectiveness of our programmes and the dedication of our therapists who work tirelessly to support these children and their families. We are honoured to be a part of their journey and grateful for the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in their lives.

Dance & Arts Therapy NZ offers dance/movement therapy and arts therapy to people across Aotearoa, with a particular focus on underserved populations. Our clinical groups, Arts 4 Us Specialty and STARS, extend clinical support to children and adolescents affected by disabilities such as Autism, global developmental delay, and cerebral palsy. The programme promotes creative self-expression, social skills development, and heightened tolerance towards sensory input, enabling participants to gain confidence and independence. Arts 4 Us plays a vital role in the lives of numerous children from low-income families by providing a free and accessible after-school drop-in programme.

Our team of skilled therapists creates a nurturing atmosphere where these children can freely express their emotions through art and produce tangible creations that boost their self-worth and self-assurance. This service helps build their self-esteem and instil confidence. Our grant application sought to fund these programmes which will have a significant impact on both our organisation and the local community. The programmes aim to provide resources to children and adolescents affected by disabilities and to children from low-income families, empowering them to learn new skills and access better opportunities. Our organisation will benefit from increased visibility and capacity-building opportunities, allowing us to expand our programmes and services. At the same time, the local community will benefit from the increased availability of resources and opportunities, leading to a more vibrant and prosperous community overall.

This generous grant from NZCT will enable us to expand our reach, provide additional resources, and continue making a positive impact on the lives of these children and their families. Knowing that we can now provide these children with additional support and resources gives us the motivation to keep working towards making a positive difference in their lives. Seeing the smiles on their faces and the progress they make fills us with hope and inspires us to continue our efforts to help them overcome the challenges they face.

Extensive research and practice of Dance Movement Therapy have been conducted in the US and Europe since the 1940s, while Aotearoa lacked meaningful Creative Arts Therapy training or community programs in the early 2000s. Our founder, Anaia Treefoot, recognized the potential of dance and movement to support the development and wellbeing of our tamariki (children). In 2009, Anaia underwent intensive training with renowned Dance Therapist Dr. Suzi Tortora in New York before returning to Aotearoa in 2010 to launch the STARS programme at YMCA Mt Albert.

Dance & Arts Therapy NZ has since expanded to offer Dance Movement Therapy programmes in various locations throughout Aotearoa, including Christchurch, Whanganui, Hamilton, Wellington, and Dunedin, and has broadened its program offerings to include Arts Therapy since becoming a registered Charity in 2013. In 2019, we became an ACC Sensitive Claims provider for trauma survivors, and we currently provide therapeutic support to students in various schools. We are constantly seeking to expand our services to new regions and communities in Aotearoa, with a focus on helping individuals flourish in society.