Capoeira is a Brazilian art form that combines dance, strength training and cooperation to create a framework for empowerment and overcoming adversity. It has been successfully used in survivors of trauma around the world.  

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Trauma and the Body

Many with trauma experience a mind-body separation, particularly if the body was the site of trauma such as in survivors of sexual and physical abuse. Therefore, the body must be involved in the healing process. Kinesthetic empathy facilitates compassion and kinship by observing the movements of others. This allows adolescents to grow in self-development and introspection when trauma has previously halted these things.

How Capoeira Works

Capoeira is based on a strong foundation of resilience and cooperation. Participants help teach one another, which is empowering. This also allows for connection with others, which is often lost in the face of severe trauma. The purpose is not winning or losing but striving for a different way of behaving and being. Thus it has been shown to diminish anti-social behaviors which are so problematic to family and school involvement. Capoeira also has a noticeable impact on peer relationships and reduced “hyperactivity/inattention” in at least some participants, which is reflected by the following quote from a teacher:

“They’re not the angry disrespectful kids who were constantly getting into trouble with police. They are calmer, don’t get angry quickly and get into fights. Anger and disruptive behavior has been a big problem, which is why this is a huge achievement and something we are proud of.”

Capoeira at Innova Joy

Innova Joy is proud to offer this unique art form to our teens in residential and day treatment. We have seen incredible benefits in adolescents who have done the program. And now we are excited about the impact it will have on your teen’s treatment!  

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