Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further one’s cognitive, social, physical, and spiritual growth. The dance/movement therapist aims to facilitate healthy experiences that foster this growth through the body-mind connection in order to explore one’s connection to self, as a way to increase self-awareness and self-esteem; as well as to explore connection to others, increasing and building healthy social skills. Body movement is used as a way to assess an individual as well as a means to intervene.
In Dance/Movement Therapy you may see:
Embodiment: A “taking on,” or personification of themes or symbols in the body to deepen a client’s expression and/or understanding.
Mirroring: Or, kinesthetic attunement, where the therapist, or even a fellow group member, reflect the movement or rhythm of a client in their own body to validate or attune to that specific expression.
Rhythmic Action: The use of various rhythms defined and created by the group or the therapist as a way to provide containment and unification. Also used as a way to increase focus of group members.
Effort Life: Exploration of the polarities of movement characteristics called, “efforts,” which are defined as space, weight, time, and flow. We all use these various qualities of movement in our everyday approach to space.
But how does it work?
Dance/Movement Therapy is based upon the assumption that the body and mind are connected. It is by exploring this connection through the relationship with the dance/movement therapist that one can expand their abilities and knowledge of the ways in which they can adapt, communicate, and express themselves. By utilizing information from the body, one can live a more fully expressive, healthy life.
Who are Dance/Movement Therapists?
Dance/movement therapists enter the profession with a Master’s degree which includes psychological content as well as DMT specific content, such as theory and movement observation and assessment. DMT professionals can be a “Registered Dance/Movement Therapist” (R-DMT), or the more advanced credential, “Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist” (BC-DMT), attained upon the completion of completed supervised clinical hours as well as passing a rigorous examination.