Dance Movement Therapy in the Treatment of Depressed Patients: A Randomised Controlled Trial


University of Jyväskylä






Behavioral: Dance Movement Therapy group

Study type


Funder types



UJyvaskyla DMT trial

Details and patient eligibility


This multi-centre research investigates the effects of dance movement therapy (DMT) on participants diagnosed with depression. In total, 109 persons participated in the study in various locations in Finland. All participants received treatment as usual (TAU). They were randomised into DMT + TAU (n = 52) or TAU-only (n = 57). The participants in the DMT + TAU group were offered 20 DMT sessions twice a week for 10 weeks in addition to standard care. The measurement points included pre-treatment measurement at the baseline and post-treatment measurement at the end of the intervention, which was 10 weeks after the pre-treatment measurement. The follow-up measurement was 3 months after the post-treatment measurement. The effects of the intervention were assessed with a clinical measure of depression (BDI-I) and with indicators of physical and psychological distress (CORE-OM and SCL-90). The participants in the treatment group (DMT+TAU) were compared to the participants in the control group who received TAU-only.

Full description

This research investigates the outcomes of dance movement therapy (DMT) groups in the treatment of adults with depression. In total, 157 participants were involved. Of them, 109 were randomized into DMT group (n = 52) or control group (n = 57). The rest of the participants participated in non-randomized DMT groups. All participants met the criteria for the eligibility for rehabilitation psychotherapy, had depression diagnosed by a doctor, and the severity of depression threatened the ability to work/ study. All participants received treatment as usual during the research. DMT-intervention was facilitated by a dance movement therapist and included 20 x 75 mins sessions within 10 weeks. Depressive symptoms (BDI), physical and psychological distress (CORE-OM, SCL-90), ability to work/study, and body image were assessed at three measurement points: pre-measurement at the baseline, post-measurement 10 weeks after the pre-treatment measurement, and a follow-up measurement three months after the post-treatment measurement. This research includes a larger number of participants (N = 109) than have been involved in previous studies utilising randomised controlled trials in research designs. The research generates further information about the effectiveness of dance movement therapy groups in the rehabilitation of depression as it was conducted in five cities across Finland. This type of multi-centre research can provide a realistic picture of the typical practice of a range of dance movement therapists working with participants in various geographic locations.


109 patients




18 to 65 years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

The participant needed to have a diagnoses of depression by a psychiatrist or general practitioner (ICD -diagnostic system). The researchers checked that the participants were working age (18-65 years of age) and fulfilled the criteria for rehabilitative psychotherapy in Finland: at least three months of relevant treatment since depression was diagnosed; the participants' ability to work or study is impaired by depression; a psychiatrist has determined that rehabilitative psychotherapy is necessary to improve or support the participant's ability to work or study.

Exclusion criteria

active suicidal ideation; psychotic symptoms; substance misuse that is on a critical level. Also, interviewees who had pain-related problems that restricted daily life or were pregnant were not admitted to the study.

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


None (Open label)

109 participants in 2 patient groups

Treatment group
Experimental group
The participants in the treatment group were offered 20 Dance movement therapy sessions in addition to standard care.
Behavioral: Dance Movement Therapy group
Control group
No Intervention group
Participants in the control group continued treatment as usual in the health services.

Trial contacts and locations



Data sourced from

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