A day in the life of a dance/movement therapist.

Shadows in the hallway at work.

Shadows in the hallway at work.

6:25 a.m.  My alarm goes off.  I more than likely hit my snooze button once, twice if it’s a sleepy morning.

7:25 a.m. Leave my apartment to catch the bus to work.  Depending on if I have to work at the restaurant after my dance/movement therapy job dictates how stuffed my back pack is.  Usually I bring my lunch to work, along with materials for work and a change of clothes.

7:55 a.m. Get off the bus and wave good-bye to the bus driver.

8-9 a.m  Arrive at my office and get settled in.  Some days, I conduct the morning meeting with my clients (adults with developmental disabilities).  In the meeting we discuss current events, which staff is out that day and an educational topic of the clients’ choice.

9- 10 a.m.  My first dance/movement therapy group of the day.   Usually my first group of the day is a morning meditation group where the goal of the group is to work on appropriate coping skills to stress.  This includes meditation, breathing techniques, mindfulness and stretching.

10:15 a.m.  My second dance/movement therapy group starts.  The second group of the day is a more “traditional” dance/movement therapy group.  This group usually starts with a verbal check-in, an invitation to move and dance, ending with a cool-down and verbal group processing.

11:30-12:30 p.m. Lunch time.  Some days I’m required to sit with my clients at work for lunch duty.  Most days I eat my lunch at my desk while surfing the internet or reading a book.

Graffiti at work.

Graffiti at work.

12:30-1:30 p.m. Some days this is my paperwork hour (other days I have group, totaling four dance/movement therapy groups a day).  Paperwork at my workplace is pretty minimal, consisting of incident reports, Individual Service Plans (ISP) and goal tracking.

1:45-2:15 p.m.  The last group of day.  The group slotted at this time usually has a theme or is guided by a specific concept.  Concepts include Rudolf von Laban’s Space Harmony or his concept of Effort and Shape.  I also have a group at this time where I allow a group member help to co-facilitate the group, titled, “Take Turns Leading.”

2:15-4:00 p.m.  Much like lunch duty, I sometimes have bus duty where I help program participants with transportation to home.  Other days this period of time is filled with team meetings or paperwork.

4:00 p.m.  Leave work.  My second job determines where I go for the evening.  I might head to the restaurant for a serving/bartending shift.  Or, I might catch a dance class as part of self-care.  Some nights I just head home to cook with my fiancée, or go on a walk, or read, or write, or…

About emilyadannunzio

Board Certified-Dance/Movement Therapist. Movement Analyst (GL-CMA). Researcher. Dancer. Bartender. Detroit, MI.
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