University of Hertfordshire

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Movement speaks of culture: A study focusing on women with depression in Taiwan

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages9
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
Early online date1 Dec 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2018


Body, movement and mind are united. Depression can be embodied, and the movement of people with depression is often different from people without depression. This embodiment will most likely vary from culture to culture because depression is a condition that profoundly reflects cultural and social patterns. This article firstly explores a study which examined the movement characteristics and the psychological constructs of women with depression in Taiwan. Secondly, interpretations of cultural meanings from the perspective of individualism/collectivism are made. Data gathering tools employed in this study are repertory grid technique from personal construct psychology and Laban Movement Analysis (LMA). Initial results showed that women with depression use less sagittal movement than women without depression. In addition, it was found that the distances between social roles and actual/ideal self were correlated to depression. The results might illustrate the difficulties these women experience in finding themselves while maintaining stressful social connections and striving to meet society’s expectations on the social roles they are expected to play in a collectivistic culture such as Taiwan. The understanding of the connection between depression, culture and movement is beneficial for embodied psychotherapies such as body psychotherapy and dance movement psychotherapy. This awareness of cultural differences for therapists, and the corresponding therapy strategies, approaches and techniques can then be adopted.


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