The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) defines dance/movement therapy as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual. See more on our About Dance/Movement Therapy page.
Dance/movement therapists focus on helping their clients improve self-esteem and body image, develop effective communication skills and relationships, expand their movement vocabulary, gain insight into patterns of behavior, as well as create new options for coping with problems. Movement is the primary medium dance/movement therapists' use for observation, assessment, research, therapeutic interaction and interventions. Dance/movement therapists help develop treatment plans and goals, document their work in clinical records and collaborate with professionals from other disciplines.
Learn more by reading our Profiles of DMTs.
Dance/movement therapists work in a variety of settings including nursing homes, schools, psychiatric, rehabilitation and medical facilities, drug treatment centers, counseling and crisis centers, and wellness and alternative health care centers.
The extensive range of dance/movement therapy techniques and the needs and abilities of participants allow for a wide variety of movement activities in dance/movement therapy sessions. Dance/movement characteristics, from subtle and ordinary movement behaviors to expressive, improvisational dancing could occur.
Earnings vary depending on credentials, experience, skills, job duties, employer, hours, and geographic location. Average earnings for dance/movement therapists are generally higher because entry into the profession requires a higher level of education. In 2004, the average earnings of dance/movement therapists generally ranged closer to $40,000 - $50,000 a year, with some earning $60,000 - $80,000 a year or more.
Dance/movement therapy is a small but growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for dance/movement therapists will grow faster than the average. Employment is expected to increase 15% from 2008 to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth will stem from the therapy needs of the aging population. Employment growth in schools will result from the expansion of the school-age population and the federally funded extension of services for disabled students.