Continuing My Journey

I was feeling very disconnected from the DMT (Dance Movement Therapy) field and was beginning to question my pursuit of board certification. Then I read an article by a practicing dance movement therapist on Facebook about the exact same feelings I was having. I became inspired. This person had a blog of her own and was questioning herself because she had not felt like writing anything about DMT. An associate told her to start there…with the feeling of being disconnected. While I am not sure she used the same word, disconnected, as I, the message is the same. Where do I fit into Dance Movement Therapy field? How does DMT fit into my pursuit of licensure as a marriage and family therapist? I am finding during the interview process that more and more people are pleased to hear that I am studying DMT and welcome its inclusion in treatment modalities.

When I attended the 6 day intensive in January for DMT for children and adolescents, my physical body, namely my lower back, started to complain. As per usual in dance classes, the participants end up sitting in a circle on the floor while the instructor shares a few words of wisdom before the next time we all get up from the floor and start moving again. This has proved to be very difficult for me as a middle-aged woman with degenerative disc disease in my lumbar spine. I was encouraged by the teacher to find a way to do DMT without hurting my body. We solved the problem of me getting up and down from the floor by having me sit in a chair at the edge of the dance floor and the other dancers and teacher placed themselves in a semi circle around me. The teacher who is about seven years older than I would sit in a chair during the times when she was observing us move. So, it really is up to me to advocate for myself when my body is hurting. I can still move pretty well but the common movement dancers do in these types of classes is sometimes lay on the floor and roll and do movements while down on the floor. Then another part of their dance they will stand up from, the floor or do a cool transition from the floor to standing. That is something that I am just going to have to omit from my dancing because it hurts too much and I can’t do the move quickly or gracefully any more.

That all being said I can still move well and express myself on the dance floor which gives me a great amount of confidence and pleasure. I learned a lot about facilitating dance therapy sessions during this last class I took and my brain is filled with ideas of how to design my own sessions. In fact, a suggestion was made to volunteer my time at assisted living facilities or community centers and just start doing “creative dance” sessions. I cannot use the dance movement therapy label until I am a registered dance movement therapist and I have been advised that the organization that oversees DMT could potentially bar me from practicing DMT for life. So, to work around that problem until I actually land an internship, I have to call my sessions “creative dance” and not dance movement therapy. I need three more dance movement therapy classes before I can seek an internship for dance movement therapy and start calling it DMT.

Most of the students in the class I attended in January were already practicing dance movement therapy or they were dance teachers. I was told I need to be actively dancing to qualify for certification. Since I have not been actively dancing in my own life for the past eight years, I need to get back to a regular class or activity outside my own living room that involves dance. I will not achieve certification from the American Dance Therapy Association unless I am actively dancing. So, this is why the idea of me volunteering somewhere came about. Since I still am not gainfully employed, paying for lessons or even going out regularly dancing is a financial issue. So, I need to find something that gets me dancing weekly at the least.

In the meantime, I am recovering from surgery for a torn rotator cuff and just getting back to being active again has become my new goal. I finally am able to swim again and I am slowly working my way back to 100% range of motion. I’m pretty much there already there but after an hour of swimming, I realized I’m still in rehab mode. So, in-between looking for work and writing a paper on my recent DMT class, I will be hitting the swimming pool on a regular basis now. Swimming also helps my back so it will be interesting to see if this helps my back during DMT classes and sessions.

The picture I have posted is of the Coronado bridge from the air as I was arriving in San Diego from my trip to Berkeley, where the class was.

Published by Patricia Loy

I'm a woman of God following Christ's teaching despite incredible obstacles.

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