Dance/Movement Therapists of Michigan: Jenna Spinei

As mentioned in my previous post, I have recently set the intention of connecting to the dance/movement therapists who live in Michigan.  When I first moved back to Michigan about a year ago, Jenna was one of the first people to reach out to me.  The two of us met at a coffee shop in Detroit and exchanged stories, philosophies and hopes for dance/movement therapy/dance/movement psychotherapy in Michigan.  Below is my interview with Jenna who currently works in and around Ann Arbor.  Also, check out her website here.

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Dance/movement Therapists of Michigan: Kandice Moss, R-DMT, LLPC

It’s been a bit over a year since I have transitioned from Chicago back to Michigan, officially landing in Detroit.  Although I am still carving out my path since being back in my home state, I have a new sense of deep settling.  I feel confident in my part-time positions, have gotten into a professional rhythm and learned how to navigate my hectic schedule.  Since I have sensed my own personal settling, I have made the intention of more seriously networking with the other dance/movement therapists in the state.  Shortly after I made that intention, I got the idea to feature Michigan dance/movement therapists via my blog (also inspired by a local Metro-Detroit blogger, Carrie who features local people and businesses in her personal blog). Below is an interview I sent to Kandice who is also located in Metro-Detroit.

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Aesthetics in dance/movement therapy.

One of the main objectives of dance/movement therapy (DMT) is to lead clients through a therapeutic process that integrates their mind and body through the use of dance and creative movement.  We hope to increase our clients’ awareness of both the mind and body.  How do our clients like to move? What are their preferred styles of moving through the world?  What does certain movements bring up for them- memories, thoughts, feelings, certain sensations?  We do this through the process of attuning to our clients movements and encouraging them to access ways of moving that may not be familiar to them so that they can become fully embodied individuals.  However, sometimes as dance/movement therapists we have different hopes, wants and wishes for our clients than they do for themselves.  Sometimes we feel outside pressure to get our clients to move a certain way.  In this sense, the issues of aesthetics enter the DMT realm.  What role, if any, does aesthetics have in DMT?

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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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