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Archive for March, 2010

It is always a delight to hear of a colleague’s work being recognized in the media. Recently, Allison Winters, BC-DMT, was recognized for her work with veterans at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in Bronx, New York. She works as part of the interdisciplinary Community Living Center treatment team that includes social workers, dieticians, doctors, nurses and others, all collaborating to meet the unique needs of each veteran and his or her family.

Allison is not alone; dance/movement therapists work at VA hospitals across the nation, helping veterans express feelings nonverbally that are too difficult to share with words.

In California, dance/movement therapists have also been working with veterans for years but, without an additional degree, have been limited to working in the VA hospitals under the department of “Recreation Therapy,” a title that does not recognize the master’s level education of DMTs. However, with the passage of SB 788 by the state legislature in the fall of 2009, that has changed. SB 788 established the licensure of professional clinical counselors. (Surprisingly, California was the LAST state in the nation to license professional counselors; it was a long, hard-fought battle to get California up to speed with the rest of the country on this matter.)

One benefit of SB 788 passing, specifically to veterans, is that California will soon be able to take advantage of federal funding that was earmarked to provide vital counseling services to veterans in VA hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs.)

Dance/movement therapists’ graduate level training is on par with the stringent educational and clinical requirements requisite to become an LPCC in California and, as such, DMTs will be able to work throughout the state in departments hitherto denied them without an additional marriage and family therapy or social work license.

More California veterans will be able to benefit from working nonverbally and from acknowledging the body that stores their trauma.

To read more about Allison’s work, click here .

To read more about the importance of the body in healing from trauma, download this pdf.

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