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How to become a Dance Therapist

dance therapist careers

What does a Dance Therapist do?

Dance movement therapists (DMTs) use dance and movement to help people with a wide range of emotional, social, psychological and physical difficulties. Dance therapy work with individuals, groups and families, helping them to improve their self-esteem and body image, develop effective communication skills and gain insights into their patterns of behaviour. They assist clients to develop strategies to manage their lives.

Dance therapists work with people of all ages and with a wide variety of conditions. These can include: eating disorders, autistic children, people who have suffered abuse or violence, dysfunctional families or individuals with severe emotional disorders. They use dance and movement to increase body awareness, stimulate spontaneous expressions of feelings and promote social interaction.

Dance movement therapy is based on the belief that movement reflects an individual's pattern of thinking and feeling. It can help anyone with emotional problems, conflict or distress. People may also use it simply for personal growth.

What's the working environment like working as a Dance Therapist?

Dance movement therapists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, psychiatric and rehabilitation units, schools and private practice. Working hours are usually 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. However, some weekend and evening work may be required. There are very few full-time positions. Many therapists work on a sessional basis.

The work often involves travel and can be physically and emotionally demanding.

What does it take to become a Dance Therapist?

To be a dance movement therapist you should:

  • have a creative imagination to devise suitable programmes for clients
  • be experienced in at least one form of dance and movement
  • have the maturity and emotional stability to deal with clients who may be suffering from mental or physical illness, or emotional problems
  • have good communication skills
  • be physically fit
  • be interested in arts, health, healing and complementary therapies
  • have an aptitude for psychology, anatomy and physiology.

Dance Therapist Career Opportunities

Employment opportunities as a dance movement therapist are widely available. The majority of these are in London and other major urban areas. Successful clinical placements whilst training sometimes lead to students being offered paid work, usually on a part-time basis. There are few full-time posts, so part-time or sessional work is common.

It is possible to set up in private practice after around 2 years' initial experience and many DMTs work as self-employed or freelance. Training and consultancy options are also available.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Dance Therapist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Association of Dance Movement Therapists (ADMTUK)
32 Meadfoot Lane
Torquay
TQ1 2BW
www.admt.org.uk

Courses to help you become a Dance Therapist