Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) is described as one of the most distinctive forms of psychotherapy because it incorporates dance and movement into the therapeutic process that helps improve ones psychological health. DMP is one of a handful of other expressive therapies, including art therapy (painting, drawing, photography) and performing arts therapy.
The purpose of a dance movement psychotherapist is to help patients cope with emotional issues, enhance cognitive function, promote personal development and advance a persons emotional and/or mental well-being. Much like other conventional psychotherapists, DMPs are there to assist in resolving important mental health issues.
Their responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Developing impeccable communication and listening skills of patients
- Bettering the patients self-esteem by using dance to enhance a persons body image
- Working with patients to produce new options and coping mechanisms
- Aiding patients get a grip into unhealthy patterns that incite behavioral issues
- Maintaining clinical note keeping and organizing important patient records
- Ensuring that your practice is following the ethical code of practice
- Being active in the client referral process
- Participating in industry-specific conferences, meetings and workshops
- Working with various computer software programs to maintain a database
- Visiting patients outside of normal office hours when in dire straits
Salary & Hours
Median Hourly Wage
Median Annual Salary
A dance movement psychotherapist can expect to operate office hours as they see fit (e.g. regular 9 to 5 or 1 to 7; Monday to Friday or weekends, too). However, DMPs may have to stay late at the office in order to sift through patients records and coming up with a proper routine to improve the clients mental health progress.
The position of a DMP will require these professionals to have the following skills:
- Strong communication and listening skills to identify problems and reflect
- The ability to feel both sympathy and empathy for the clients problems
- An interest in regularly working with people and perking up their lifestyles
- Superb commitment to undergoing the entire therapeutic process
- Conversant in psychology and physiology; articulate verbally as well as physically
It takes more than just understanding how to dance. Becoming a dance movement psychotherapist takes a lot of rigorous training and education credentials to become a true professional. In this field, a post-graduate, either an MA or MSc, is a minimum requirement as well as two to three years of training. If you wish to pursue research and publishing in DMP then a PhD is essential.
Professional designations that a DMP needs to complete consist of Registered DMT and Board-Certified. Registered DMT (R-DMT) is the entry level DMT and board certified DMTs (BC-DMT).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), recreational therapists, including DMPs, can expect an employment growth rate of 13 percent between 2012 and 2022. DMPs can often find work opportunities in healthcare settings, social services organizations, universities, special needs schools, prisons, arts projects and non-profit entities.
Dance movement psychotherapy is relatively new and is considered to be unconventional. As this becomes a lot more ubiquitous then it is now there will be an abundance of employment opportunities. Of course, the advantage that DMPs have is that they can work in other fields associated with psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and physical therapy.
Photo by torbakhopper via Flickr.