Dance movement psychotherapist

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Dance movement psychotherapists use dance and movement to help people deal with emotional, psychological and physical issues.

Salary Range: £13,401 to £43,772

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You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
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You’ll need a postgraduate master’s degree (MA) in dance movement psychotherapy recognised by the Association for Dance Movement Pyschotherapy UK.

To do an MA you’ll need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject like dance, performing arts, psychology, medicine or nursing, or an equivalent professional qualification
  • 2 years’ background in at least one dance form, as well as experience of other forms of dance and movement
  • the ability to improvise and use movement as a form of expression

More information

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You’ll need paid or voluntary experience of working in the community, in youth work or with people with disabilities or mental health issues.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice. Do-it has more information on voluntary opportunities.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy UK for professional development and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can get more advice about careers in dance movement psychotherapy through the Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy UK.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

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Day-to-day tasks

You’ll work with individuals and groups to:

  • improve self-esteem, self-awareness and perception of body image
  • improve communication skills
  • gain insights into patterns of behaviour
  • create coping strategies and find new ways to manage life

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • observing and assessing your clients’ movements
  • planning individual or group movement sessions
  • finding suitable music and creating props for sessions
  • creating a safe environment to promote communication

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, in a prison or at a school.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

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With experience you could teach dance movement psychotherapy, or provide clinical supervision to less experienced colleagues.

You could be a consultant, set up in private practice or work on a self-employed, freelance basis.