Posts Tagged ‘ernest rossi’

Once a year, dance/movement therapists from around the world congregate at the American Dance Therapy Association’s Annual Conference, hosted each year in a different city in the United States. This year will mark the 47th Annual event, Exploring Vistas and Soaring to New Heights: Dance/Movement Therapy 2012 and Beyond. It promises to bring hundreds of clinicians and dozens of grad students to Albuquerque, New Mexico in October.

Perhaps comparing attendance at a professional conference to entering a candy store seems a mismatched metaphor to some, but for this dance/movement therapist it is right on target. The only downside to the conference each year is that I cannot clone myself to attend multiple seminars at once. I really wish I could clone myself. No, really, I do.

When I attended the Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference in 2009 (a MASSIVE conference with over 7000 attendees) I listened to current leaders in psychology and medicine – Ernest Rossi, Daniel Siegel, Bessel van der Kolk, Eugene Gendlin, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, among others – all address the mindbody connection in their work. It was gratifying to hear each of them acknowledge the role of the body in healing and it was uplifting to know that so many other scholars with significantly larger audiences are researching and applying concepts that have always been central to dance/movement therapy practice and theory. Oh, the fruit that could be produced from widespread research collaboration between psychologists, neuroscientists and dance/movement therapists! That day is coming, I feel it. But it can’t come soon enough.

In the meantime, I am extraordinarily proud to have earned the title of board-certified dance/movement therapist and to stand among my colleagues who advance our field and thereby also deepen an understanding of the mindbody connection that informs all approaches to healing. It brings me joy to call attention to the work of my peers and to further emphasize the advanced scholarship and clinical skills that are necessary to call oneself “dance/movement therapist.” (If this is the first post you are reading from my blog, I invite you to read “An Invitation to Those Making the World a Better Place Through Dance” to understand precisely what is required to earn that title.)

In the service of calling attention to the work of my peers, allow me to provide a glimpse into the candy store awaiting conference attendees in October in New Mexico. The conference is open to all. If you are a mental health clinician of any variety and seeking continuing education or even an aspiring student (in dance, in psychology, in social work, etc) our doors are open. Most workshops will be a combination of lecture, discussion and experiential work. There is even a special pre-conference interactive intensive for non-dance/movement therapists (allied professionals and students) to personally and kinesthetically be introduced to basic concepts of dance/movement therapy so that the conference workshops will be more meaningful.

A sampling:

Dance/Movement Therapists and Schools in Collaboration A Multi-Cultural, Embodied Approach to Violence Prevention with Rena Kornblum

Photo courtesy

Beat the Odds: Social/Emotional Skill Building Delivered in a Framework of Drumming and Movement with Ping Ho and Kathy Cass

A Closer Examination of Repetitive Movement and Healing Trauma: Why DMT has Psychology’s Attention with Patricia Lucas

The Dance of Attunement: Utilizing Dance/Movement Therapy to Develop Skills for Affect Regulation with Children with Rebecca Finnoff

The Use of Dance/ Movement Therapy in Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT) with Luke Addington

Mutuality in Motion: Integrating Movement Within the Child-Parent Psychotherapy Model to Restore Healthy Attachment with Nancy Toncy

Dance Cuba! Dance/Movement Therapists’ Cross Cultural Collaboration in Cuba with Christina Devereaux

Dance/movement therapy group. Courtesy of ADTA.

Dancing with People with Dementia: Expanding the Roles of Dance/Movement Therapists with Donna Newman-Bluestein

These are but just a few of the 49 workshops and intensives being offered at the 47th Annual ADTA Conference. You can read about the workshops above and others here. And if you are Facebook-inclined (who isn’t?) you can get updates, photos and more at the ADTA Conference Facebook page. (Oh, and I’ve been invited to present a half day intensive on Zumba Fitness® Through the Lens of Dance/Movement Therapy. More on that later …) You can also read the bios of all the presenters here, which I highly recommend if you want to get a glimpse into who dance/movement therapists are and what we do. Our work is quite diverse and I am fascinated by the unique career paths dance/movement therapists find themselves on. I think you will be too.

(Last updated/edited September 9, 2012.)


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My title for this post is a direct quote from Dr. Andrew Weil’s opening keynote speech today at The Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference in Anaheim, California (billed as the world’s largest psychotherapy conference, traditionally held only every five years.)

The entire speech, Integrative Medicine, the Mind-Body Connection, and the Future of Health Care, set the stage for an entire day and evening of workshops that addressed the mindbody relationship and its central role in healing.

Dance/movement therapists have been operating professionally for over 45 years on the principles of the reciprocal nature of the mind and body; our work has always emerged from the body’s innate capacity to heal. These are not “new” discoveries to any dance/movement therapist. But what IS new and incredibly exciting is that neuroscientists and microbiologists are finally understanding the mechanisms within the brain and the molecular nature of emotion so that our work can actually be validated by hard science.

Anyone who has ever experienced dance/movement therapy can speak to its efficacy and DMT IS evidence-based via a variety of research methodologies, but science’s emerging understanding of the unity of mind and body on a molecular level is precisely the quantitative measure that supports our work unequivocally.

Now, we just need to build the research teams: dance/movement therapists and interpersonal microbiologists and neuroscientists working together!

After attending Dr. Weil’s keynote, I experienced the following events:

Gene Expression and Brain Plasticity in the Evolution of Psychotherapy: Ernest Rossi, PhD
The Clinical Wisdom of Modern Neuroscience and Buddhist Psychology: Jack Kornfield, PhD and Daniel Siegel, MD
Reinventing the Mind; Resurrecting the Soul: Deepak Chopra, MD

It was a perfectly themed day, each workshop complementing the one before and after it.

I also had the honor of meeting David Harris, MA, BC-DMT, who has just returned from England where he received the Freedom to Create prize for his dance/movement therapy work with child soldiers in Sierre Leone. I have written about his work in an earlier post, but you can read about his latest international prize and subsequent press here. It was an honor to meet him and hear of his travels and teachings!

Tomorrow promises to be just as exciting at the conference. What an exciting time to be a dance/movement therapist, when science can finally prove what the most ancient and wise healers have always known: dance is healing!

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