Dance/Movement Therapy

Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) is defined by the American Dance Therapy Association as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration of individuals.  DMT is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational, and forensic settings, and in nursing homes, day care centers, disease prevention, and health promotion programs.  The dance/movement therapist focuses on movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship.  Expressive, communicative, and adaptive behaviors are used for group and individual treatment.”   



In my undergraduate experience at Goucher College in the early seventies, I saw films about DMT, knew what I wanted to do with my life, and became a Dance and Psychology major.  I had internships with Arlynne Stark, one of the mothers of DMT, in a large psychiatric hospital in Baltimore and was on my way! After completing my undergraduate education, I moved to New York City to live the life of a dancer and study with giants of Modern Dance: Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, and Hanya Holm.  My next step was to get my Masters in DMT at Hunter College in the early eighties.  As a DMT in New York City, I specialized in work with children with autism and other serious psychiatric diagnoses. 

 

After moving to San Francisco, I worked at Herrick Hospital in Berkeley where I was the staff Dance/Movement Therapist for eleven and a half years. After doing post-doctoral work at both La Ventana and New Dawn Eating Disorders Treatment Programs for Eating Disorders, I moved down the coast to be on the staff at Castlewood Treatment at Monarch Cove in Pacific Grove, CA. I served on their staff as Primary Therapist and Activities Coordinator and my work was enriched by the excellent training I received there. I have incorporated Internal Family Systems work which I was trained in by its creator, Dr. Richard Schwartz and other practitioners at Monarch Cove.  I find it to be extremely effective applied to work with clients with eating disorders and with trauma.  I now serve clients with trauma as well.

 

I am currently focusing on my private practice in Pacific Grove with individuals, couples, and families, and supervisees, both in person and via Skype.  I will also be providing outpatient groups for clients with eating disorders. I am looking forward to teaching dance again, especially Anna Halprin's Movement Ritual.    

 



Clinical Psychology

While I still lived in New York City, my interest in clinical psychology  pulled me in the direction of school once again. I was drawn to the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco because of the rootedness in conscious work and life.  CIIS ended up being the perfect place for me to bring all of my interests together.  My dissertation entitled Women Dancers in Midlife:  Coping With the Transition was highly successful.  I credit the success largely in part to my research tool, Carol Gilligan’s Voice Centered Relational Methodology.  The participants in my study responded strongly to the open, caring environment evoked by this compassionate methodology, which focuses on women’s voice.  I have found that this method has had an influence on my practice as a therapist in many ways.

 

 

Dance

I have always felt that having dance in my life was a great gift.  It has brought great joy, discipline, and meaning to my life.  I began dancing and performing as a child.   I loved my undergraduate education where I spent so much time in the dance studio and learned the art of choreography.  It was a revelation to discover DMT and know that I could share this healing gift with others who are suffering deeply.  Dancing in New York was one of the most memorable times of my life.  Learning from masters of modern dance gave me access to great talent and wisdom.  This rare privilege continued in my work with Anna Halprin.  It has been an honor to be mentored by such an accomplished artist. It has felt like one of the great accomplishments of my life for Anna to certify me to teach her Movement Ritual.  Continuing to dance, teach, and perform in her 90's, Anna is a role model for aging in the most beautiful, healthy way.  It was wonderful to be a student in her Advanced Performance Lab, as well.  

  It was a joy to co-lead workshops with Taira Restar, M.A., R.S.M.E., who was very involved in teaching and performing with Anna Halprin.  We both felt inspired to share our gratitude for a life in the art form we so love by giving workshops filled with our collective experience.  It has been a rare pleasure to see my research manifest in this wondrous form.  Our Creative Transition workshops for women in midlife are an outpouring and synthesis of what matters most to me in my life:  art, dance, conscious communication, honoring the Self, celebrating ourselves as we are, safe space for self expression, and being a whole, healthy human being in communion with others.