I am officially official. I am a Registered-Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT)! After all the babbling I’ve done about dance/movement therapy on my blog and the blogging I did for Marginalia, I am now actually official. No longer am I an “emerging dance/movement therapist,” as I lovingly called myself during my graduate school days. In the words of a member of my dance therapy cohort, “I have emerged.” Athankyou, Ambryn, I have.
What does it mean to be an R-DMT, you ask? That’s a very good question, especially if you are interested in becoming a dance/movement therapist or interested in the field itself. Up until now I have written blog entries with the standpoint that those who read my blog knew a thing or two about dance/movement therapy. And if not, I wrote with the hopes that the entries were interesting enough they would motivate readers to go look it up.
Becoming an R-DMT is both simple and not-so-simple. An R-DMT is a title (I want to say
“licensure” but I am unsure if that’s correct) that is both allotted and recognized by the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA). This is the first level of recognition given to individuals with dance/movement therapy education and training. Basically the R-DMT title is the ADTA’s way of saying, “Great job making it through graduate school. We now deem you worthy of the dance/movement therapist title.”
There are two paths an individual can take to become a Registered-Dance/Movement Therapist. One way is to attend one of the six graduate programs accredited by the ADTA (you can find of list of them here). Although attending a dance/movement therapy program sounds “simple,” it’s anything but. I attended Columbia College Chicago, so of course my experience is specific to that school, but our program was grueling. We read, wrote, and danced a lot… Basically, we were put through, oh what’s that phrase…”the meat grinder?” But with a lot of hard work comes a lot of growth and experience gained, and for that I am thankful.
The second path an individual can take to be come an R-DMT is to hold a master’s degree in a like-minded profession (e.g. social work or psychology) and obtain a dance/movement therapy education through an Alternate Route program. Completing an alternate program serves as a certificate to supplement one’s already acquired masters degree. You learn the ins and outs of dance/movement therapy, by-passing the traditional counseling studies and thesis work because it’s assumed you’ve already done that work previously.
Once the degree or certificate is posted by your school, you are eligible to register as a dance/movement therapist with the ADTA. All you need is the application which must be notarized, a transcript sent to the office by the school in which you attended, and 125 bucks!
Bada boom, bada bang! You’ll have the letters R-DMT after your name.
It’s important to note that this is a title that is recognized by the ADTA. That does not mean it’s necessarily recognized by the state in which you live, the ACA, or possible future employers. However, some dance/movement therapy programs’ curriculum (at least the one at CCC) gives one the knowledge to sit for a counseling license as well. There is no state reciprocity for the counseling licensure, unlike the R-DMT which is recognized nationally. Personally I have not decided to prepare for the counseling exam just yet because I cannot decide on which state I’d like to live in more than, say, three years. My proclivity towards mobility (especially free flow and acceleration) tends to hold me back in achieving stability in one state- had to throw that out there for my Laban nerds.
Receiving my R-DMT certificate from the board in the mail was exciting, as you can see from all the dorky selfies I took with it. I have aspired to become an R-DMT over the past five years- my aspirations began during my undergraduate days. That little piece of paper and those four little letters are a culmination of a lot of time and hard work poured into the past five years. It’s unbelievable to think about, really. I knew that one day I would become a dance/movement therapist, because that’s what I set my heart on to do, but now it’s real. Holy hell, it’s real- I’m officially official.