Dréa's Dream Blog - Dance,
Healing and Hope by Susan Rizzo Vincent
Dréa's Dream pediatric dance therapy program has promoted healing for children with cancer and special needs and is funded by The Andréa Rizzo Foundation. It has also inspired dancers to combine their love of dance with compassion.
We look forward to shared stories of dance, healing and hope.
Many dancers have asked me about the exciting career of Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT). As President of The Andréa Rizzo Foundation, we fund Dréa’s Dream pediatric dance/movement therapy program for children with cancer and special needs in schools and hospitals nationwide. I have personally had the honor to observe dance/movement therapy in action. I've seen the wonderful transformation and healing that takes place within the walls of hospital rooms and classrooms – psychologically, emotionally and physically.
I’ll start by answering some frequently asked questions.
What is dance/movement therapy?
Based on the assumption that the body and mind are interrelated, 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.
They further explain that dance/movement therapy is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational, and forensic settings, and in nursing homes, day care centers, disease prevention, and health promotion programs.
They note on their website that the dance/movement therapist focuses on movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship. Expressive, communicative, and adaptive behaviors are all considered for both group and individual treatment.
For more information about the field of Dance/Movement Therapy, you can visit: www.ADTA.org
I've also included a video created for Dréa's Dream with Dr. Lori Baudino at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA to offer a close up view of dance/movement therapy in action as well as a wonderful explanation of the work.
How do I become a dance/movement therapist?
Professional training of dance/movement therapists occurs on the graduate level.
R-DMT (Registered Dance/Movement Therapist) is granted to individuals who have completed a master’s degree in dance/movement therapy or a master’s degree in a related field plus required credits of specific dance/movement therapy curriculum. All candidates must complete a required number of hours in a supervised clinical internship in dance/movement therapy.
BC-DMT (Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist) is awarded only after R-DMTs have completed additional hours of supervised, professional clinical work. BC-DMTs are qualified to teach, provide supervision, and engage in private practice.
Many BC-DMT’s hold state licenses, National Certified Counselor (NCC) status, and doctoral degrees.
I asked Becky Engler Hicks, Ph.D., R-DMT (Becky Brittain) of St. Louis, Missouri to share her experience as a dance/movement therapist.
Here is what she had to say:
A career in dance-movement therapy is endlessly rewarding in an intellectual, physical, creative and spiritual way. Every day that I have worked as a dance therapist, I have enjoyed the non-verbal attunement that I felt working with individuals and groups. It is fun and joyful work that can change lives for the better to improve emotional and/or motor functioning and developing insight into one’s particular situation. Each client is unique, with differing somatic histories and needs and challenges.
In a long career span as a dance therapist I have treated infants, children, adolescents and adults in schools, residential treatment facilities, and hospitals. I have worked with autistic, emotionally disturbed, special needs, deaf and blind children. I have seen adolescents and adults with mental health issues and eating disorders. For many years I have taught undergraduate dance therapy classes on the college level and supervised students working as interns. It has been my privilege to inspire many of my students to go on to pursue rewarding careers in this field.
Recently, Dr. Bruce Perry, MD, one of the foremost trauma specialists in the US, stated that in a five-year study of many therapeutic approaches, that dance-movement therapy and music therapy are the only two modalities that consistently help traumatized children. This is an incredible endorsement of our remarkable healing field of study.
I am grateful to Becky for sharing this background and hope that it inspires many dancers to consider this rewarding career option.
We will continue to share stories and experiences written by the dance therapists funded by The Andréa Rizzo Foundation.
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