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What is a Dance-Movement Therapist?

Dance/movement therapy is not a common career, but those who participate in the field lead inspiring lives that are critical to those in need of mental, physical, emotional, or social support. The goal of the job is to help individuals in rehab, with special needs, with mental illnesses, or in nursing homes cope with the difficulties that they face, through movement and dance.

Practicing therapists may be self-employed, but many choose to work at health centers or hospitals. With an aging population and a greater awareness of those with mental health disorders, the profession is becoming increasingly vital to human society and there is becoming a higher and higher demand for it, according to Verywell. By participating in this line of work, dance/movement therapists (DMTs) also make our population a more understanding, informed, and compassionate one.

Because dance/movement therapy is a highly specialized field, those wishing to go into it are required to have certain qualifications. While practitioners can major and minor in anything for their undergraduate degree, it is highly recommended that they have experience in psychology and dance. This is also useful for when they apply for graduate school, seeing as they must obtain a Master’s degree in dance/movement therapy or pass an American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA)-approved graduate program, according to the ADTA website..

Once out of college, these individuals must apply to become a Registered or Board-Certified Dance/Movement Therapist if they did not go through an ADTA program. Because of the hard work, large skill set, and many qualifications required to become a dance/movement therapist, it is clear that only the most passionate and knowledgeable therapists may enter the field, demonstrating the importance and seriousness of the occupation.

The average DMT makes between $60,000 and $70,000 a year, with some making upwards of $95,000, according to ADTA. There are not likely to be any advancements made if pursuing the occupation, because many DMTs are self-employed or are the only ones practicing dance/movement therapy in the area due to how specialized the career is. However, some may choose to gain experience at one institution and then apply for a job at one that pays more.

Overall, dance/movement therapy is an highly-rewarding career, both for the therapists and for their patients. The occupation brings physical, emotional, social, and mental support to those who need it, and it is done in a unique and creative way. By being a DMT, one is also able to bring support to thousands of people from a countless array of backgrounds, providing those who are suffering as well as their friends and family with much-needed help.

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