Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 12/17/2020

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at McCallum Place Eating Disorder Center.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit


Dance Movement Therapy

Written by Daisy Thompson, LMSW, LCDC-I

“Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.” -Samuel Becket

According to the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) dance movement therapy (DMT) is a well-established psychotherapeutic intervention which is based on the empirically supported concept that body, mind, and spirit are interconnected, and that the psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance can further the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration of the individual. DMT has been positioned as an effective intervention for medical, developmental, physical, psychological, and social impairments.

In DMT, movement and dance play a central role within the therapeutic alliance, and can be practiced with individuals, couples, families, and groups in health and social care settings as well as private practice.  While academic research concerning DMT is relatively limited when compared to other evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions, among the existing literature there seems to be a general consensus that DMT can positively impact quality of life, improve well-being, mood, and affect, and enhance body-image.


While there are many different techniques within the broad spectrum of DMT interventions, the technique of mirroring is one of the most well-known, and is considered by practitioners and patients to enhance emotional understanding and empathy for others.  Through the use of mirror neuron circuitry, mirroring in DMT may enhance understanding of others’ emotional intentions.  Research suggests that imitation of another person’s movement, or mimicry, can inform emotional understanding through muscle feedback loops to the brain.  Research on the mirror neuron system (MNS) is complicated, however, it is suggested that there is an overlap in areas of the brain involved with perception and movement production, and both areas inform our understanding of movement intention.

Mirroring in DMT can take various forms, and may look like a therapist intentionally echoing the body of movements of the client for example, if the client is sitting straight and rigid with arms crossed in front of their chest, the therapist would sit erect with crossed-arms as well.  Similarly, in a group setting, it might look like dyads taking turns as leaders and followers.  A therapist might ask clients to compare the experience of being a leader to a follower, or to identify any similarities or differences experienced in the mirroring exercise to roles that are enacted in interpersonal relationships.  Clients often indicate that one role is more comfortable than another, and often matches-up with their interpersonal style for example, an individual who tends to be a leader in interpersonal relationships identifies most with leading movement in the mirroring activity, while an individual who tends to be a follower in interpersonal relationships often identifies most with the following aspect of the activity.

DMT and Eating Disorders

There is a common misconception that dance is reserved for individuals of a certain body-type or physical ability, however, quite literally, any body can dance. Another common misconception is that in order to participate in DMT, a person must have a background in dance training, when in reality, a person need not ever have set-foot in a dance studio to participate in DMT.  There are no criteria for involvement in DMT other than the consent and willingness to participate.

To illustrate the fallacy that only certain body-types or abilities can dance or participate in DMT, recent research concerning individuals who binge-eat and who are obese, benefited significantly from DMT interventions. Individuals who are obese and engage in binge-eating behaviors may also suffer from low self-esteem and distorted body image.  The specific individuals involved in the 36-week longitudinal study exhibited significant improvement in health-related quality of life, body consciousness, and mental representations related to body image.  Additionally, all achievements in the study were unrelated to weight-loss, as weight remained largely unaltered throughout the study.

Future Implications

Dance and movement have been utilized as therapeutic interventions for thousands of years. Since the beginning of human history, dance has been used to influence fertility, birthing, healing, and more.  Dance as a healing art has an extensive history; however dance as an established and research-supported practice dates back to the 1950’s.  Among existing literature, DMT has demonstrated positive benefits related to quality of life, self-esteem, mindfulness, relaxation effects, and coping with disease.

While there has been considerable progress made in the development of scholarly studies concerning DMT, there is still relatively little published empirical research when compared with other evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions.  Future research in the area of DMT should be adequately powered with a focus on high-quality, randomized trials using both qualitative and quantitative methods.


Baeyer, C. (2010, December). The use of art therapy to introduce acceptance in treatment for pediatric chronic pain.  Retrieved from

Balgaonkar, A. (2010).  The effects of dance movement therapy on the cognitive development of children. International Journal of Arts and Sciences, 3(11), 54-72.

Brauninger, I. (2012).  Dance movement therapy group intervention in stress treatment:  A randomized controlled trial (RCT). The Arts in Psychotherapy, 39, 443-450.

Congress, E. (2011). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches.  New York, NY:  Oxford University Press, Inc.

Erfer, T., Ziv, A. (2006). Moving toward cohesion:  Group dance/movement therapy with children in psychiatry. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 33, 238-246.

Frisch, M., Franko, D., & Herzog, D. (2006).  Arts-based therapies in the treatment of eating disorders. Eating Disorders, 14, 131-142.

Hay, P., Bacaltchuk, J., Stefano, S., & Kashyap P. (2010, July 19). Psychological treatments for bulimia nervosa and binging (Review). The Cochrane Library (4), 1-96.

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Jeong, Y., Hong, S., Lee, M., & Park, M. (2005).  Dance movement therapy improves emotional responses and modulates neurohormones in adolescents with depression. International Journal of Neuroscience, 115, 1711-1720.

Koch, S., Kunz, T., Lykou, S., & Cruz, R. (2014, September 14) Retrieved from

Lundy, H.  (2002, May). Using dance/movement therapy techniques to augment the effectiveness of therapeutic holding with children. Retrieved from

McGarry, L., Russo, F. (2011).   Mirroring in dance movement therapy: Potential mechanisms behind empathy enhancement. The Arts in Pscyhotherapy38, 178-184.

Meekums, B., Karkou, V., & Nelson, E. (2012, June 13).  Dance movement therapy for depression (protocol).  Received from

Mehler, P. (2010). Medical complications of bulimia nervosa and their treatments. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 44(2), 95-104.

Muller-Pinget, S., Carrad, I., Ybarra, J., & Golay, A. (2012). Dance therapy improves self-body image among obese patients. Patient Education and Counseling 89, 525-528.

Payne, H. (2008).  Dance movement therapy: Theory, research and practice.  New York, NY:  Routledge.

Strassel, K., Cherkin, D., Steuten, L., Sherman, K., & Vrijhoef, J. (2011). Evaluation of the effectiveness of dance movement therapy. Alternative Therapies, 17(3), 50-61.

Daisy Thompson received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and her Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. Daisy is a full-time staff therapist at McCallum Place Austin.  Daisy is also a certified professional dance instructor and former professional dancer and NBA cheerleader.  Daisy passionately believes that any body can dance, and looks forward to her bi-weekly therapeutic dance groups she facilitates at McCallum Place Austin.