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.
What was your pathway to studying dance/movement therapy (DMT)? How did you get interested in the work?
Although I was in Grand Rapids, I kept a close ear about Detroit news as it related to the school system. I realized there was a need and I felt a connection to children who had no voice in their circumstances whether in school, peer/social groups, and/or within their family. I was a senior at Grand Valley State University majoring in Sociology and simultaneously developing a business plan for a dance studio back in Detroit. As a senior I was taking elective dance courses to accrue the required amount of hours for graduation, so what other way to do so than dance classes? I’ve always had a passion for dance but I knew the particular studio I wanted to implement had to include the how’s and why’s of the style of each dance- even then it was so much more deeper than words could articulate. It also was important for it not to be competitive, instead offer a space for youth to be free from their struggles in life. Little did I know my passion for understanding both social causes and consequences of such and the freedom of expression through dance would collide. I was given a flyer about dance movement therapy from the instructor and that day started it all. I was on a mission. I found something that was unique to me. By any means necessary I wanted to walk in my purpose. I started Step in Time Dance Company in 2009.
You traveled during your graduate school experience at Columbia College Chicago, how was that for you?
This was one of the most challenging yet life changing experiences of my life. The entire first year I was traveling via Megabus or Amtrak every week. I lived in an on-campus dorm Monday nights through Thursday evenings, staying in Michigan Thursday night through Monday afternoon. Even writing this right now I have to take deep breaths to grasp all what this entailed. I was a wife and a mother to at the time an 11-month old daughter. Towards the end of the first year I was pregnant and still traveling. During the second year my family and I moved to Nashville. Every week I flew from Nashville to Chicago for 1 day of classes. First and foremost I’m very appreciative of my husband who even when things were hard on our marriage, we stuck it out. Our family helped us to no end as well and for that I’m grateful. I’m also very appreciative for a department as the Creative Arts Therapies at Columbia College Chicago for being flexible and using me a prototype for distance learning and finding a place for me with such a unique experience.
How has your transition back to Michigan? What is your experience like as a Registered-Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT) in Michigan?
I always wanted to come back to Detroit it’s my hometown. Bringing dance movement therapy here in the city has always been a dream. I always had a vision for bringing such a field to the forefront of my community. My experience as a R-DMT is unique. I like it though, because I feel like I’m always advocating for something I feel so passionate about. When I meet people I have to constantly explain the field to them because in Michigan it’s not very prevalent. Via our database there are only 12 R-DMTs in Michigan.
You are the first black R-DMT in Michigan, and as far as I know the only black dance/movement therapist in Michigan. What is that like for you?
Instant trailblazer! As a psychotherapist in the Creative Arts Therapies field, it allows the freedom to create something that has never existed and sets the foundation for others to come and contribute. It also feels me with a somewhat bitter-sweet feeling. I’m so excited and taken aback by the accomplishment, yet at times I ask the question, why am I the first in 2017?
What is your lens as a dance/movement therapist? How do you approach the work?
My lens and approach as a dance movement therapist is grounded in the relational-cultural theory and is used as a framework. This particular theory emphasizes relationships and external factors; that individuals develop through mutually empowering relationships with others, asserting that the relationship (both connection and disconnection), not autonomy, is the key to growth.
What population do you currently work with? What do your DMT groups look like with your clients?
Currently I work with individuals who face a wide array of physical, intellectual and emotional challenges; ranging from children to senior adults. In addition to being a dance/movement therapist, I’m also a limited licensed Counselor which enables me to help individuals understand and solve problems to cope with mental or emotional stressors. With that, I’m interested in offering various support groups ranging in populations from youth and adolescents and pre and postnatal care.
A typical DMT group for me can vary from client-to-client, however there remains a constant thread within each session which is to hold a safe space for that person for whatever the allotted period of time. Sessions can range from inviting a client to engage in a ritualized body warm-up to addressing new awareness’s in the body from inner impulses, to even lying still and focusing on how they use their body within the space and/or in relation to self and other. No two sessions ever look the same, simply because no two individuals are the same.
To book an appointment for dance movement therapy assessment and/or sessions please contact FAR Therapeutic Arts and Recreation at 248-646-3347, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.far-therapy.org.
To book an appointment for counseling and/or support groups please contact Moss Therapy and Wellness at 248-893-7308, via email email@example.com or visit our website at http://www.mosstherapyandwellness.com. Our social media links for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be found at @mosstherapyandwellness.