Archive for November, 2009

A recent report has demonstrated that health care costs may actually DECREASE when arts are incorporated into health care settings. Some of the benefits for the patients include shorter hospital stays and a need for less medication. Benefits for the employees include increased satisfaction on the job and greater job retention, especially with nursing staff.

These findings and more are reported in the 2009 State of the Field Report for ArtsInHealthcare. A 33 page document, this report highlights the researched benefits of all forms of art, be they incorporated into the institutional setting itself or conducted bedside with the patients. You can read about the benefits of visual images, poetry, art, journaling, music, drama, dance and more.

Some of the featured studies pertaining specifically to dance/movement therapy in health care included the benefits to patients with breast cancer, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.


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This is a wonderful and rare opportunity to study, in depth, a component of the LivingDance~LivingMusic TM approach to dance/movement therapy, pioneered by Danielle Fraenkel, Ph.D., BC-DMT, NCC, LCAT, LMHC, CGP. This opportunity is even more special for those of us in California as Dr. Fraenkel lives in Rochester, New York. Her dance/movement therapy studio, Kinections, just celebrated its 25th year anniversary. Congratulations!

I had the privilege of studying under her for a year and a half during my post-graduate internship and am delighted that she will be offering this workshop in my backyard.

One of the exciting aspects of her work is that she has developed a theoretical framework for dance/movement therapy that is grounded in the inherent healing of dance, itself. You can learn more about this theory, specifically as it pertains to the use of breath, at the workshop below.

Breath and Somato Respiratory Integration™
Sources of Expression, Self-Awareness,
and Self-Acceptance —Part I

December 5, 2009 — 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
December 6, 2009 — 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Danielle Fraenkel, Ph.D., BC-DMT, NCC, LCAT, LMHC, CGP
Jeffrey Mehr, MA, musician

Course Description:
Students will learn how LivingDance~LivingMusic™ uses The Twelve Stages of Somato Respiratory Integration to generate here and now dances that shed light on the individual’s relationships to self and others. By working with the interactions among breath, touch, and movement, students will see how a theory of dance/movement therapy can be grounded in dance and how neurobiology, music, and dance affect one another. Developed originally for adults with eating disorders, this approach has been used in a variety of settings from partial hospitalization for the mentally ill to normal neurotics seeking to self-actualize. Live music.

• Students who complete the requirements for Part I will receive 1.5 credits towards certification in dance/movement therapy or 22.5 hours of continuing education.
• Students who also complete the requirements for Part II of this course will be eligible for a total of 3 credits towards certification in dance/movement therapy, 45 hours of continuing education and 3 credits towards qualifying to be a facilitator of LivingDance~LivingMusic.

Dr. Danielle Fraenkel, director of Kinections℠, creator of LivingDance™ and published author, leads LivingDance~LivingMusic groups locally, nationally, and internationally.

Jeffrey Mehr, M.A., writer, poet, and photographer, has played piano since he was four and practiced Taijiquan for more than thirty years. His LivingMusic stems from these two disciplines. The dancers power the playing.


California State University, Long Beach, CA 90840 (Dance Department)

Questions: kinectionsinfo@kinections.com
In California: Lora Wilson Mau, R-DMT, writelora@hotmail.com

Your Investment
$325.00 Visa and MasterCard accepted. Click HERE for Credit Card form.
Checks or money orders are payable to Kinections. Mail to:
Kinections, at Imagine Square, 718 University Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607
(Check one) I have enclosed a bank check____ money order____ , or credit card information____ for $325.00 for
LivingDance~LivingMusic: Breath and SomatoRespiratory™ Integration as Sources of Expression, Self-Awareness, and Self-Acceptance, December 5-6, 2009.
I have FAXed _____credit card information indicating that I give you permission to charge_______ dollars to my credit card account for the above course of study.
Card Type_______________________________ Number _______________________________
Exp: Date:_______________


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I am mortified.

The profession of dance/movement therapy – which is regulated by a certification board and, with the recent passage of SB 788 in California, is licensable in all 50 states – faces enough challenge as it is to educate the public about what it is that we do with clients. The professional life of a dance/movement therapist involves education of patients, colleagues, and even friends and family daily.

Unfortunately, one can google “dance therapy” and almost always find a link to pole dancing or Britney Spears, ranking as high as websites that are connected to the legitimate profession of DMT.

I just read this blog post on the Huffington Post concerning “lap dance therapy” that was conducted with troubled teens in an Oregon institution that was clearly in violation of numerous professional and ethical regulations.

I am devastated for these teens who were already traumatized by events in their pasts, and then forced to embody sexual postures during “group therapy” time and re-traumatized and humiliated.

I am angry for them. Angry that someone took advantage of them. Angry that trusting future therapists – especially body-based psychotherapists – will be more difficult for these kids.

And I am angry for our profession.

I know of numerous skilled, brilliant, highly trained dance/movement therapists who work with abuse victims and trauma victims – who know how to incorporate the body into healing work in a safe, gradual, compassionate way. True healing of trauma requires acknowledgment of the body because the body stores the trauma. The trauma lives in the body. But legitimate registered and/or board-certified dance/movement therapists know how to perform this work skillfully, artfully, humanely and appropriately. DMT-with-Trauma-Info-Sheet

I simply must counteract this tragic news story with an affirmation of the power of legitimate dance/movement therapy and provide education to you, the public, about the credentialing you should be looking for when seeking to work with a dance/movement therapist.

There are two levels of credentialing in dance/movement therapy, similar to marriage and family therapists and social workers. If you are working with a dance/movement therapist privately, one to one, that therapist should have a BC-DMT (the more advanced credential) behind his or her name. If you are seeing a dance/movement therapist in a clinic or hospital, that person’s name can be followed by R-DMT or BC-DMT.

If you’d like to learn more about what registry (R-DMT) and board certification (BC-DMT) mean and the graduate and post-graduate training that is necessary to earn either mark, the distinctions are detailed here. (Do note that our marks recently changed. Prior to Oct 8, 2009, our credentials were DTR and ADTR, respectively. Know that those were legitimate but have very recently changed.)

The American Dance Therapy Association has been in existence for over forty years. Given our focus on the body, movement, and even the use of touch, the number of ethical or legal complaints against legitimate dance/movement therapists has been negligible.

Learn about the profession. Be educated consumers. Work with legitimate dance/movement therapists. Want to find one in your city or state? Start here.

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How would YOU describe “dance?”

Anna Halprin has always said it is “the breath made visible.”

What a profound image…

As I sit here, cognitively pondering her words, I have given myself permission – even whilst sitting at my desk with my fingers poised above the keyboard – to explore its meaning on an embodied level. So I pause, even in this 21st century confined computer-oriented posture, and breathe. I watch my chest rise and expand forward with the inhalation and then sink in the exhaled sigh in such a way that my shoulders follow and my spine curves toward the back of my chair. I play with my breath – changing the force, the speed, the depth – and allow my body to dance to its own music.

To say “the breath made visible” is poetic but the rhetoric is superficial until you actually feel kinesthetically what she means.

Just try it.
Breathe. Now.

Give yourself the gift of focusing on nothing else but your body right now in this moment: breathe. And as you breathe, simply observe how your body responds – it is already moving, already dancing in its own subtle, glorious way.

What if you let that ever so subtle movement, that occurs hundreds, even thousands of times daily, grow just a bit. Expand just ever so little. What if you let that breath gently guide your body… to grow, shrink, undulate, collapse.

Watch your breath – made visible – become your dance and give yourself permission to explore – not knowing where you’re going or what the next moment will look like.

I write of Breath Made Visible tonite because I just became aware of a breathtaking and powerful documentary by that very name that will be in theatres very soon. Breath Made Visible is a full length feature film about the life and prolific work of Anna Halprin – a living pioneer in modern dance and in the expressive arts healing movement.

It is very rare that dance is captured well in film – and even more rare that dance/movement therapy is.

Even in such a short trailer, the cinematographer really captures the essence of Anna Halprin’s spirit and the evocative power of even the most subtle movement. Because I work with the elderly, I particularly loved seeing the footage of what appears to be at least a hundred elders dancing in their chairs on the grass, in the open air – expressing themselves through breath and movement as one. The trailer is brilliant – a mere taste of what will most certainly be a delicious visual experience in its entirety.

Watch the trailer. Then look for the film in your city. A colleague of mine who is a long-time student of Anna Halprin was present at its premiere and declares it is not to be missed.

While you wait for the film opening, you can learn more about Anna Halprin here, in her own words, and of her work at the Tamalpa Institute.

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Ever wonder if dance/movement therapy is like yoga or how the two disciplines are different? Both dance/movement therapy and yoga operate on the premise of the mindbody connection. I often am asked by those unfamiliar with DMT if it is essentially like yoga.

Here’s the perfect chance to discover the answers to those questions for yourself.

Co-Sponsored by the Southern California Chapter of the American Dance Therapy Association and the UCLArts & Healing Initiative, “The Dance of Yoga” is a 3.0 continuing education workshop for mental health professionals and those interested in healing through dance and/or yoga.

November 7, 2009
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The workshop presenter is Kathy Cass, MA, BC-DMT, NCC, CYT, a registered dance therapist, nationally certified counselor, and a certified yoga therapist with over 25 years of instructional and clinical experience with a variety of populations. She has expertise as a long-standing director of a non-profit therapeutic dance/yoga organization as well as a movement/yoga consultant for numerous institutions and individuals.

Kathy has been a member and head of the ADTA Credentials Committee for two years and was just recently re-elected. She has been a guest lecturer at Scripps College, The Center for Movement Education & Research at Loyola Marymount University and Tiverton House at UCLA. Kathy is currently a part-time faculty member at Santa Monica College Emeritus Division and an Advisory Board Member for CSUF Extended Education in Expressive Arts Therapies. She also maintains a private practice including group and individual supervision in Santa Monica, CA.

Workshop Description:
What is the relationship between dance/movement therapy and yoga? Learn basic concepts, experience the process and learn specific techniques to integrate yoga into your personal and professional life. Learn about the philosophy and panchamaya model of yoga and how it blends and differs from basic dance therapy theory.

Focusing mostly on asana, prananayama and bhavana (postures, breath and visualization,) we will practice a short yoga sequence as well as a creative movement/dance exploration utilizing some of the asanas as a “theme”.

Attendance at this conference meets the qualifications for 3 hours of continuing education credit for MFTs and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (Provider #4468). Continuing education credit is also available for BC-DMTs and R-DMTs.

Registration fees:
SCCADTA Members: $60
Non- Members: $70
Students – always – $25
Additional Administrative Fee for CEs for MFTs, LCSWs – $15.

If you are in the area, you can register at the door (just be sure to arrive by 9:15 to do so.)

California State University, Long Beach
Dance Department
Studio #5 (3rd floor)

1250 Bellflower Blvd
Long Beach
Parking $5

Dance Building is located between the Pyramid and the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, near the intersection of Atherton and Palos Verde. (access maps here)

Hope to see you there!

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