I am Patty Loy and I was born to dance! My parents danced together in the swinging social scene of the1950s. They won several dance contests. I started dance lessons at age 5 when my mother thought it would be a good idea to get me and my older brother into dance lessons since we both displayed a love of dancing. She was right!
We were an entertaining duo for our hometown, as we danced in nursing homes, recitals and the Indiana Dance Convention for years. We danced as a team until I was about 13 years old and then my brother decided he did not want to take dance lessons anymore so I had to quit as well. My love of dance never left me and I sporadically took lessons until I entered college in 1977. The college I went to would not let me declare a major as a freshman but they allowed me to take all the dance classes I wanted, as well as, the general pre-requisites for a Bachelor’s degree. It wasn’t until I was completing my first semester as a sophomore that I found out about dance therapy. I was always interested psychology and had taken a couple of psychology courses over the years. But as I was setting up my schedule for the coming Fall semester, the person I was speaking to suggested that I major in psychology and minor in dance, since I had shared with her that I knew I was never going to make it as a professional dancer. It was then that she told me about dance therapy.
As fate would have it, and obviously to me, God had a different plan for me. It was God’s plan all along for me to become a dance therapist but I had to expand my family. During my summer break I became pregnant with my daughter and I did not return to dance therapy until late 2009. I am now a very blessed mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother to my daughter, her husband, and three beautiful children. My heart is full and I raised a wonderful daughter who continues to bless me with her love and success.
After getting laid off for the first time in the 30+ years I worked for a living, I rediscovered the field of dance therapy. I had been working as a computer programmer for over 15 years until I sustained repetitive stress injuries to both my wrists and elbows that forced me to leave that field of work. This forced me to reevaluate my future in the work force. When I remembered my dream of being a dance therapist, after I was laid off and could not find a job, I Googled “dance therapy” and The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) web site popped up, and I knew my journey to become a dance therapist was beginning. I needed a masters in psychology but I hadn’t yet completed my bachelor’s degree.
I graduated from San Diego State University, in 2014, with my bachelor’s in psychology and completed my masters degree in psychology in July 2019, from Azusa Pacific University. As of September 2019, I am awaiting my Associates number so that I can begin practicing therapy as an intern. I need 3000 hours of supervised therapy to complete the requirements for a licensed marriage and family therapist. I intend on working on my board certification as a dance/movement therapist simultaneously. I have to have 700 hours of supervised therapy to accomplish that, as well as, a few dance therapist-geared courses. Those hours are included in the total 3000 hours for state licensure. It’s a lot, I know, but this is my dream and God has been blessing me since I started on my journey to become a dance therapist. He knew I would need the support of my family. He knew I needed to learn some hard life lessons and be humbled by what he has already given me. He also knew that although the idea of moving to San Diego first germinated in my mind in1980, I would not be ready for such a journey until nine years later.
On the east coast, dance therapy is more well known and practiced. There are universities that offer masters degree programs in dance/movement therapy but there are none in California. I can get a masters in Expressive Arts at the University of California in Marymount but not a masters in dance therapy only. So, the ADTA has come up with an “Alternate Route” for therapists who live on the west coast or in a location where there are no degree programs for dance therapy. The Alternate Route specifies that one can get a masters degree in psychology and then get board certified as a dance/movement therapist by taking the additional dance therapy-focused courses. So, while I was closer to the action back in Pittsburgh, where I attended in 1979-1980, I am glad that I am now in San Diego. If I had started this journey back then, I probably would have never made it to the west coast. And that would have been tragic to my descendants.
As the Lord would have it, I am now focused on my journey into dance therapy and I have a lifetime of success and love to keep me going through the trials.