About Dance/Movement Therapy


Based on the empirically supported premise that the body, mind and spirit are interconnected, the American Dance Therapy Association defines dance/movement therapy as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.

Dance/movement therapy is:

  • Focused on movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship.  Expressive, communicative, and adaptive behaviors are all considered for group and individual treatment.  Body movement, as the core component of dance, simultaneously provides the means of assessment and the mode of intervention for dance/movement therapy.
  • Is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational and forensic settings, and in nursing homes, day care centers, disease prevention, health promotion programs and in private practice.
  • Is effective for individuals with developmental, medical, social, physical and psychological impairments.
  • Is used with people of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds in individual, couples, family and group therapy formats.

The American Dance Therapy Association acknowledges the BC-DMT (Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist) as the required credential for private practice of dance/movement therapy, clinical supervision in dance/movement therapy and teaching dance/movement therapy coursework beyond the introductory level. The Dance/Movement Therapy Certification Board, an affiliate of the ADTA, administers and regulates the BC-DMT, as well as the entry level DMT credential, the R-DMT (Registered Dance/Movement Therapist.)


For the ADTA's Dance/Movement Therapy Scope of Practice Statement Click here

Pioneering the Body-Mind Interface

  • For over 50 years, dance/movement therapists have pioneered the understanding of how body and mind interact in health and in illness.
  • Whether the issue is the will to live, a search for meaning or motility, or the ability to feel love for life, dance/movement therapists mobilize resources from that place within where body and mind are one.



What is dance/movement therapy? ADTA Informational Slide Show


View our Profiles of Dance/Movement Therapists page to learn more about the life of a dance/movement therapist.



Serving People in Countries Across the Globe in:

Argentina, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rica, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The Netherlands, Taiwan.


History of Official Recognition by the U.S. Federal Government:

  • Recognized by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) of the Department of Health and Human Services as covered element of a partial hospitalization program in Medicare facilities (1996).
  • Title IV grant, number 90 AM 0669, Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC (1993) Research - "Dance/Movement Therapy with Older Individuals Who Have Sustained Neurological Insult." Findings suggested dance/movement therapy improved the functional abilities of the participants on a number of variables, i.e., balance, rhythmic discrimination, mood, social interaction and increased energy level.
  • The Office of Alternative Medicine of the National Institute of Health awarded one of its first exploratory research grants to investigate dance/movement therapy for those with medical illnesses. (1993)
  • Dance/movement therapy included and defined in the Older American Act reauthorization Amendments. PL 102-375. (1992).
  • Dance/movement therapy represented on President Carter's Commission on Mental Health (1977).
  • Dance/movement therapy included in resolutions to implement Education for All Handicapped Children Act, PL 194-42 (1975) amended several times (1986, 1990), and later renamed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Federal Civil Service Classification for Creative Arts Therapists (art, dance, music & psychodrama).

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