Dance/movement therapists are unique individuals within the workforce who use dance and movement to help promote therapeutic growth in individuals. Dance/movement therapists have an array of job responsibilities that include both clinical and therapeutic tasks. The settings in which dance/movement therapists work are often very demanding, but it’s what happens inside the dance/movement therapy (DMT) room that is most exciting. What happens within a DMT session is the meaning of our work. Below are five things dance/movement therapists do daily.
1. Help facilitate change in our clients’ lives.
It’s probably safe to say that if you are or are interested in becoming a dance/movement therapist it’s because you hope/d to help others through the use of dance and movement. The transformative powers of dance is what draws us and our clients to this work. We help create therapeutic change in the lives of our clients by addressing emotional, physical, mental, or social aspects of self through movement.
2. Connect to others in dance.
When we invite our clients into the DMT studio we are inviting them into a space that promotes connection with others through movement. Even if our personal movement is completely different from others in group or we don’t find a way to connect to each other through the use of touch, the act of simply moving together in each other’s presence connects us. In DMT we ask our clients to dive deep into themselves to discover the mind-body connection so that they have the courage to connect to others.
3. Empower people through movement.
Each day in DMT group we empower our clients through movement and dance. As dance/movement therapists we provide our clients with the therapeutic space to increase their awareness of the mind-body connection and the power to make decisions about the direction of the DMT experience. Our embodied approach to therapy serves many purposes, one of which is to increase our clients’ own experience with embodiment. We do this in hopes that it will ooze into their everyday lives so that they will not only be empowered in DMT sessions but also in life.
Obviously we get to dance with our clients, yet DMT can also take on other forms such as meditation, yoga, play, breathing, relaxing, body tracking, sports, performance… and the list goes on. Dance/movement therapists depend on their unique DMT knowledge to tailor movement, whatever form it takes, to help serve our clients’ independent therapeutic needs.
5. Look at the world in a different way.
As dance/movement therapists we have a unique knowledge that alters the lens in which we see our clients. This is not better or worse than other mental health professionals, it’s just different. We see the world through the lens of dance, movement, and creativity and this is how we help our clients change.