If you love to dance and help people, a career as a dance/movement therapist (DMT) may be a great career for you. Dance/movement therapy is a psychotherapeutic use of dance and movement. DMT works to support the body’s social, cognitive, emotional, intellectual, and motor functions. Also, this is a recognized form of therapy that helps connect a person’s mind, body, and spirit through dance and movement to promote healing. The following video is a lesson in therapeutic dance movement.
How to Become a Dance/Movement Therapist
To become a Dance/Movement Therapist, you will need to earn an undergraduate degree first. From there, you can attend a graduate program approved by the The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA). You should also know, that the National Board for Certified Counselors, which administers testing for state licensing and certification, recognizes dance therapy as a counseling discipline. These programs will contain courses in rehabilitation science, dance, and psychology.
Upon graduation, you will earn your entry-level Registered Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT) credential. After earning your R-DMT, you can gain experience and become a Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist, or BC-DMT. BC-DMT is the advanced level of dance/movement therapy practice, signifying both the second level of competence for the profession and your preparedness to provide training, supervision in dance/movement therapy, and engage in private practice.
If you are still unsure what you would like to do and want to further your search in a similar field, check other similar careers out there such as recreational therapists. Recreational therapists plan, direct, and coordinate recreation-based treatment programs to help people with their illness, disability, or injury. As with any career, what you can achieve depends on how much you are willing to put into it, like education, time, and determination. You got this!
What does a Dance/Movement Therapist do?
Most dance/movement therapists (DMT) start as dancers or choreographers. It is a natural stepping stone as those practicing dance/movement therapy use many of the same skills used in dance or choreography. DMTs create a space for their clients to feel safe, validated, have a sense of choice, and tolerate internal sensations. They offer compassionate and supportive techniques to help their clients feel a sense of control and autonomy with their bodies. This form of therapy promotes healing by using various therapeutic techniques.
These therapists guide individuals in tracking bodily sensations and breathing and other specific movement or verbal therapeutic interventions that process feelings evoked by movement. The Dance/Movement Therapist (D/MT) promotes calm, self-awareness that helps persons feel connected to their body’s physical and emotional signals. This helps clients identify when they are satisfied and provides them with the coping skills necessary to realize and help with the signs and signals of stress.
Dance/movement therapy is considered helpful to other treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on cognition or behavior because D/MT incorporates body-based solutions. There are also many areas that this type of therapy helps people, such as with grief, anxiety, depression, dementia, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorders. DMT’s help build confidence, promote self-esteem, and help people manage their chronic pain and stress. This form of therapy is slo known to increase strength, improve flexibility, decrease muscle tension, and help with communication issues. For more information about Dance Movement Therapy, visit the American Dance Therapy Association website.
Benefits of being a Dance Therapist
Along with how to become a dance therapist and learning what a dance therapist does, let’s learn about the benefits. Dance therapists derive immense satisfaction from their profession, with the foremost reward being their capacity to profoundly impact individuals through the therapeutic power of dance. They relish the flexibility that some positions offer, enabling them to strike a harmonious work-life balance. Additionally, dance therapists often enjoy competitive salaries coupled with comprehensive benefits when employed full-time.
Witnessing patients’ remarkable improvements and witnessing them lead happier lives adds to their job satisfaction. Remarkably, dance therapy roles typically maintain low-stress levels, fostering a tranquil work environment. Furthermore, the calming atmosphere in which they operate contributes to their overall job contentment. Finally, for those interested, this profession provides an opportunity to establish your own practice.