Ellen Searle LeBel, LMFT, BC-DMT, CST-T

“The body says what words cannot.”
- Martha Graham

What is dance/movement therapy?

Many approaches to movement are incorporated in DMT and anyone can participate without any previous training in dance. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for expression through movement and to encourage integration of body and mind in a non-judgmental atmosphere.

How is dance/movement therapy used in private practice?

In my practice, DMT is most often incorporated into verbal psychotherapy as seems appropriate and as clients wish. DMT can enhance verbal therapy by engaging the imagination and emotions through the body, allowing expression of what may be unconscious or difficult to express in words. I often find DMT to be effective with couples in developing better communication and empathy. DMT may be the primary modality for clients who wish to engage fully in movement at each session. I often use a particular form of dance/movement therapy called authentic movement.

Who benefits from dance/movement therapy?

Like many people, you may have a specific concern or symptoms that respond therapeutically to a somatic experience. You may feel physically detached or unaware, have conflicted feelings about your body, have a history of trauma or find it difficult to express yourself verbally. DMT also works well for people who are naturally kinesthetic and open to movement.  I have used DMT in my private practice with individuals for 20 years and previously offered DMT groups to elders, people with head injury, children and developmentally delayed adults.

The American Dance Therapy Association defines dance movement therapy as "the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual. The dance/movement therapist focuses on movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship." Dance/movement therapy (DMT) is practiced with a wide range of people, in groups or individually, in mental health programs, medical facilities, schools, nursing homes, forensic settings and in private practice.

If you are interested in exploring more about dance/movement therapy you can visit the American Dance Therapy website, read about me in the profile published in the spring 2011 ADTA newsletter, or contact me to discuss your questions or interest.

Dancing Sculpture by Vironevaeh.
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