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?
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.
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.
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.”
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
My recent blog posts have been centered around my transition from Chicago to Detroit. I have also transitioned from a full-time dance/movement therapist to furiously searching for employment which has lead me to my current state: that of filling my schedule with a myriad of part-time positions. It has been six months since I made the move and things have started to settle. Life is starting to make sense. Since transitioning, I have acquired a few part-time positions because, unfortunately, I was unable to find a full-time position that truly encompassed what I was looking for professionally. I am happy about my part-time positions and feel as though I am doing meaningful work. However, I am not considered a dance/movement therapist in any of my positions. While I feel like my knowledge of dance/movement therapy (DMT) and my experience as a professional dance/movement therapist influences my current work, I am lacking the official title. Lately, I have been missing that title.
Before I dive into the topic of this blog post, I want to honor that in recent months I have retreated from my blog . I have stopped consistently writing blog posts. My focus has been elsewhere as I adjust to my new surroundings and the changes occurring in the country. It has been difficult to find time to write and to maintain the attention span it takes to write a blog post. Dare I say I even had moments where I thought about discontinuing my blog altogether. However, various e-mails from prospective dance/movement therapy (DMT) students (I have received a handful lately) have reminded me why it’s important to write and spread the good word. Not to mention I have had to do a lot of DMT advocacy in my new location where I feel like I am constantly asked to define it. This often manifests in differentiating it from therapeutic dance or dance projects for individuals with varying disabilities. My current situation has led me to return to the DMT basics, the basics that differentiate it from therapeutic dance.
I first wrote about the difference between DMT and therapeutic dance, also known as artists in healthcare, when I blogged for Columbia College Chicago’s graduate student blog, Marginalia. More recently, I led an “Introduction to DMT” workshop at a local college for music therapy and pre-dance/movement therapy undergraduate students. In my presentation I defined DMT and outlined four components that differentiate DMT from other dance and movement focused practices. These four components are specific to DMT and to dance/movement therapists, and they are what makes our work unique. Although I have written about this topic before I think it’s important to return to it. In short, DMT is a type of therapy conducted by professional dance/movement therapists that occurs in professional clinical settings and incorporates movement interventions in the therapy process to address the therapeutic goals of their clients. Below is a more detailed explanation of each of the four differentiating factors.