Guest Blogger Jeannine Salemi (LCPC, BC-DMT, GL-CMA), “Boundaries and the Dance/Movement Therapist.”

Alex Grey/Chapel of Sacred Mirrors

I work as a dance/movement therapist in an inpatient psychiatric setting. Most of our clients struggle with addiction issues as well as mental illness. Because it is a community hospital, most of the patients who come to us lack the familial and societal support that would allow them to obtain the resources to fully recover from their addictions and mental illnesses. This sad truth creates an environment that can feel unstable at times, and patients and staff alike are trying to be heard and be seen. Enter the empathic dance/movement therapist, who is trained to feel and attune to the needs of others from moment-to-moment. As one of the dance/movement therapists who works on the unit, my senses are open and on alert from the moment I walk through the door. I am there to be of service, to attune, to see, and to help to create some kind of balance in a very chaotic environment. It is familiar and comfortable for me to be in the space of openness to and receiving of energy. What is not comfortable for me is the opposite mode of being, which is equally necessary in such an environment. The opposite mode I’m referring to is setting clear boundaries with patients and staff so that I can continue to have the energy to be open, attuned, empathic and in service of others.

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What have you done for me lately?: Reflecting on ADTA group membership and credentials.

It’s that time of year of again-time to renew your America Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) group membership and credentials.  Each year dance/movement therapists (or any individual who would like to join) must pay an annual fee for membership.  Also, if an individual is a Registered-Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT) or a Board Certified-Dance/Movement Therapist (BC-DMT) there is a fee to maintain each specific credential.  Although I have already paid for both my membership and credentials, I have been mulling over my payment.   This year my payment comes with some reflection on what the payment actually provides me and what exactly I’m buying into.

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Contract work in dance/movement therapy.

As mentioned in my previous post, dance/movement therapists can work in a myriad of settings and work with many different individuals.  What is also true is that dance/movement therapists can work as full-time, part-time or contractual staff.  Full-time dance/movement therapy (DMT)  work is often found in bigger cities or cities that house DMT graduate programs.  I have been transparent in my blog writing about moving from Chicago (home to Columbia College Chicago’s graduate DMT program) to Detroit.  I have also been transparent that I have been more successful in finding part-time/contractual DMT work.  Personally, this is a transition for me as I worked as a full-time dance/movement therapist at a rehabilitation facility for adults with developmental disabilities (DD) while living in Chicago.  So, not only have I transitioned in physical location, but I have also transitioned in the type of work I do as defined by what type of work it is.  How does contractual work influence my approach to DMT, and what are the positives and growing edges of my work?

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Dance/movement therapy: how settings define our work.

One of the beautiful aspects of dance/movement therapy (DMT) is that it can occur in many settings.  Our work is adaptable to fit the various settings we work in and thus the many individuals we serve.  Dance/movement therapists can work in settings spanning from schools to hospitals to nursing homes.  While I am an advocate for adapting DMT to fit the needs of our clients and of the clinical cultures we work in, it’s also important to honor that the clinical cultures impact our work.  The various settings where we work influences how DMT manifests with our clients.

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Eight things to consider before e-mailing a professional dance/movement therapist.

 

My choice to blog about my experience as a dance/movement therapist has provided me with opportunities to connect with a lot of a different individuals from all around the world.  It has been exciting to connect with people stateside from Boston to Colorado and worldwide from Poland to New Zealand.  I also receive a plethora of e-mails from prospective students (both high school and undergraduate students) who are curious about dance/movement therapy (DMT), as well as e-mails from other professionals about my work as a dance/movement therapist.  I try to respond to e-mails to the best of my abilities, and lately they have led to awesome chats over coffee.  I remember my own desire to reach out to people who knew more than me about the process when I was first starting down my DMT path (thanks again Megan S. for responding to my e-mail before the movement interview).  However, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about this process and in some ways feel a bit overwhelmed by it.  So, naturally, I decided to blog about it.

If you are interested in any of the many facets of DMT and plan to email a professional dance/movement therapist then below are some things to consider.

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Web presence of a dance/movement therapist, revisited.

photo taken from: mastersofmedia.hum.uva.nl

photo taken from: mastersofmedia.hum.uva.nl

I recently received my copy of the 2016 December issue of the American Journal of Dance Therapy in the mail.  This particular volume of the journal, titled, “Special Issue: The First Fifty Years of the American Dance Therapy Association 1966-2016” reflects on the history and growth of dance/movement therapy (DMT), while including some current articles.  If you know anything about DMT culture then you won’t find the journal topics to be particularly surprising or special, because we have a tendency to put heaps of value on our foremothers and the early strife of DMT as a profession.  While I do appreciate the reflections and anticipate reading through the various writings, there was one article I was particularly interested in, titled “Social Media and Dance/Movement Therapy: Reciprocity, Collaboration, and Relationship.”

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Featured on CarrieDaway: talking about dance/movement therapy and life in Detroit.

Emily was the ‘It’ girl of elementary school and I was the polar opposite. The words I’d use to describe my younger self are loud and desperate (I’m happy to say I would no longer use those descriptors). As ‘uncool’ as I was, Emily was always gracious and nice – no Mean Girl story here. […]

via Life in Detroit: Emily D’Annunzio Goodman — CarrieDaway

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