Dance/Movement Therapy Courses

Dance/movement therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration of the individual.

Therapy is based upon the empirically supported premise that the body and mind are interconnected and interact in both health and illness. Body movement provides both a means of assessment and a mode of intervention for dance/movement therapists, working either with individuals or with groups, in the treatment of developmental, medical, social, physical, or psychological impairments.

MS Dance/Movement Therapy 2021-2022 Courses

Anatomy and Kinesiology

Graduate Seminar—Fall

This course is an introduction to the study of human movement/kinesiology and human anatomy. Students will gain a beginning understanding of key systems in the human body and their integral effect on functional and expressive behavior. Key anatomical landmarks and features will be highlighted in the context of both common and individual choices and characteristics. Students will explore how understanding the different body systems aids in movement observation and intervention.

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Clinical Fieldwork Orientation

Graduate Seminar—Fall

This course combines reading, discussion, and a supervisory lens to support fieldwork placements in a clinical setting. The course is designed to provide the student with professional orientation and direct exposure to dance/movement therapy practice, an orientation to health and educational systems, and an understanding of the role and function of the dance/movement therapist within each system. Hours earned in clinical fieldwork placement are counted toward the clinical fieldwork requirement of 200 hours.

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Clinical Treatment Planning

Graduate Seminar

In this course, students will build on concepts learned in Graduate Seminar in Methods and Theory of DMT I and II, Human Growth, Psychopathology, and Movement Observation I and II to refine their assessment skills in developing treatment plans consistent with DSM-5 criteria and the application of dance/movement therapy principles and interventions. The role of pharmacotherapy will be included. We will also examine clinical and treatment planning, with a focus on developing clinical writing skills as they relate to specific settings and populations, including children, adolescents, adults, and geriatrics.

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Clinical Internship Practicum I

Graduate Seminar—Fall

This course uses a group-supervision format to support and develop the internship experience. Through the sharing of experiences from their individual internship settings, students will explore a variety of topics—such as professionalism, supervision, working in an interdisciplinary team, problem-solving in the workplace, countertransference, and kinesthetic empathy—as a way of bridging theory and practice. Through group discussion, movement experientials, weekly logs, and in-class presentations, students will continue to practice their therapeutic skills and deepen their understanding of dance/movement therapy.

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Clinical Internship Practicum II

Graduate Seminar—Spring

This course is a continuation of Clinical Practicum I. Students will continue to deepen their comprehension of dance/movement therapy theory, as well as to expand and hone their clinical skills. Through the sharing of real-life experiences from their internship settings, students will continue to explore topics such as professionalism, supervision, transference, countertransference, and kinesthetic empathy, thus bridging theory and practice. Through group discussion, movement experientials, written papers, and in-class presentations, students will continue to practice their therapeutic skills and deepen their understanding of dance/movement therapy.

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Graduate Seminar in Methods and Theory of DMT I

Graduate Seminar—Fall

This is the first part of a four-semester, process-oriented course that functions as a laboratory in which to study the methods and theory of dance/movement therapy. This course integrates didactic, experiential, and collaborative learning methods, both remotely and in the studio.  Elements of global, cultural, and anthropological perspectives of dance that are inherent in each student will be explored.  Exploring one’s “dance identity” will help form the foundation of developing an inclusive and culturally humble approach to the therapeutic process in dance/movement therapy; self- awareness, uncovering bias and preferences, exploring empathy, and one’s personal background will all be examined, both individually and interpersonally.

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Graduate Seminar in Methods and Theory of DMT II

Graduate Seminar—Spring

This second course in a series of four on the methods and theory of dance/movement therapy for clinical practice is dedicated to learning about early dance/movement therapists, with a historical perspective of the beginnings of the profession of dance/movement therapy. Integrated throughout the semester will be readings and discussions about world dance, diaspora dance, and multicultural dance—all of which have greatly influenced our understanding of dance as a healing and therapeutic art for both individuals and communities prior to the development of dance/movement therapy as a profession. The most salient aspect of this course will be the movement-based experiences in class that help students embody the essence of the theory and practice of dance/movement therapy. Embodying the “felt experience” of foundational body-movement principles will help students develop an understanding of how each person’s personal experience is woven into common conceptual and kinesthetic frameworks rooted in developmental and integrative movement.

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Graduate Seminar in Methods and Theory of DMT III

Graduate Seminar—Fall

This third course in a series of four on the methods and theory of dance/movement therapy for clinical practice will focus on the experience of embodiment and on broadening and deepening the students’ practice of dance/movement therapy, as we examine cultural, spiritual, and socioeconomic perspectives on dance and healing.

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Graduate Seminar in Methods and Theory of DMT IV

Graduate Seminar—Spring

This final course in the series of four on the methods and theory of dance/movement therapy for clinical practice will examine clinical applications of expressive arts modalities—such as art, music, poetry, and drama—for the purpose of understanding their relationship to dance/movement therapy and how they can be used in conjunction with dance/movement therapy to enhance and support treatment interventions. We will also examine the use of the artistic elements of dance—such as choreography and performance—to support a variety of mental and physical health goals. The course will have several visiting faculty with expertise in the arts and creative-arts therapies.

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Graduate Thesis I

Thesis—Fall

Each student in the dance/movement therapy program is required to complete a thesis project. The thesis provides the opportunity to integrate, using research methods, theory from multiple disciplines, existing literature in dance/movement therapy, and personal experience. This course will offer students the structure to apply what they have learned in the Research Methods course toward developing their own research project, with the goal of completing and submitting a research prospectus and outline. Group support, consultation, and technical assistance will be provided in class.

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Graduate Thesis II

Thesis—Spring

Group support, consultation, and technical assistance will be provided in this class for students who will be working with their thesis advisors and second readers to continue the work begun in Graduate Thesis I and complete their final thesis project.

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Group Work Theory and Practice I

Graduate Seminar—Fall

In this course, students will learn clinical skills and roles needed for the effective practice of group work as dance/movement therapists in varied clinical settings. We will examine theoretical constructs of group work that include Yalom’s interpersonal approach, Shulman’s interactional approach, Falck’s membership perspective, and Steinberg’s model of mutual aid. Students will be expected to identify the central ideas and methods of group work and to recognize its emotional, cognitive, and behavioral applications, as well as behavior that disrupts the work of group process; to demonstrate an understanding of the effects of transference and countertransference; to discuss group work theory and techniques used to facilitate problem-solving and specific skill building to reduce psychiatric symptoms; and to understand group characteristics, including multiculturalism, diversity, dynamics, and stages of development and interventions.

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Group Work Theory and Practice II

Graduate Seminar

In this course, students will expand their knowledge of the basic theories, methods, concepts, and clinical applications learned in Group Work Theory and Practice I. We will explore the core elements of systems approaches to groupwork theory and dance/movement therapy clinical practice. Specifically, we will examine the contributions of Monica McGoldrick’s influential work concerning ethnocultural aspects affecting families, including the impact of race, class, religion, historical factors, and migration experiences and attitudes about sexual orientation and intermarriage. Other theoretical models will include the relational-cultural paradigm developed at the Stone Center’s Jean Baker Miller Training Institute and the principles of resilience theory that emerged from the research of Dr. Emmy Werner. These models have implications for the development of therapeutic interventions and will inform our study of the clinical roles and skills needed for the effective practice of dance/movement therapy group work with children, adolescents, and families in various clinical settings.

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Human Growth and Development

Graduate Seminar—Fall

In this course, students will expand their knowledge of the basic theories, methods, concepts, and clinical applications learned in Group Work Theory and Practice I. We will explore the core elements of systems approaches to groupwork theory and dance/movement therapy clinical practice. Specifically, we will examine the contributions of Monica McGoldrick’s influential work concerning ethnocultural aspects affecting families, including the impact of race, class, religion, historical factors, and migration experiences and attitudes about sexual orientation and intermarriage. Other theoretical models will include the relational-cultural paradigm developed at the Stone Center’s Jean Baker Miller Training Institute and the principles of resilience theory that emerged from the research of Dr. Emmy Werner. These models have implications for the development of therapeutic interventions and will inform our study of the clinical roles and skills needed for the effective practice of dance/movement therapy group work with children, adolescents, and families in various clinical settings.

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Movement Observation I

Graduate Seminar—Fall

This class is the first in a series of three on movement observation and assessment skills and is designed to familiarize the student with the Laban concepts and principles for the observation and description of movement, integrating other relevant perspectives for understanding human movement. Students will learn to embody and observe foundational components of physical action by exploring concepts in the categories of body, effort, space, and shape. Laban Movement Analysis provides insight into one’s personal movement preferences and increases awareness of what and how movement communicates and expresses. In addition—through readings, movement experimentation, and discussion—students will explore the principles of the Bartenieff Fundamentals, which involve concepts such as movement initiation and sequencing, connectivity, weight transference, spatial intent, effort intent, and breath support. These fundamental ideas, when present in movement, develop dynamic alignment, coordination, strength, flexibility, mobility, kinesthetic awareness, and expression and also help facilitate relationship.

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Movement Observation II

Graduate Seminar—Spring

The class is the second in a series of three on movement observation and assessment skills and is designed to familiarize the student with additional movement observation systems through readings, movement exploration, and discussion. Students will explore the implications of the use of movement observations systems for working with vulnerable populations and the important considerations of diversity, equity and inclusion in the therapeutic space.

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Movement Observation III

Graduate Seminar—Fall

This course is the third in a series of three classes on movement observation and assessment skills and is designed to integrate Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals and to introduce additional methods for movement observation beyond those particular systems. Students will understand how movement observation paradigms can be applied to dance/movement therapy clinical practice, professional conversations, documentation, and research.

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Fieldwork

Fieldwork—Fall and Spring

Fieldwork provides opportunities for students to be exposed to an early-childhood setting and to observe the role of the dance/movement therapist in that setting. Students will observe and interact with children ages six months to five years, with the goal of gaining a greater understanding of the physical, social, and emotional development that occurs during this period of growth. Additionally, students will participate in dance/movement therapy sessions and practice group leadership and also receive group and individual supervision of their work. For this first year of placement, students are expected to be participant observers, actively observing and engaging in the process of dance/movement therapy without the full responsibility of a leadership role. Students are required to complete 200 fieldwork hours in the first year of training. Those fieldwork hours must be completed before beginning the clinical internship.

Professional Orientation and Ethics

Graduate Seminar—Spring

Students will learn the fundamental tenets underlying professional ethics and ethical decision-making in the practice of dance/movement therapy. We will identify and explore ethical concepts, standards, and guidelines that will inform your clinical judgment and make you aware and mindful of the ways in which your personal ethics relate to your role as a professional dance/movement therapist. In addition to course readings, we will study the ADTA Code of Ethics and Standards of Ethical Practice and the New York State Education Department requirements and standards for licensure in creative arts therapy, including training in the identification and reporting of child abuse and maltreatment.

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Research Methods

Graduate Seminar—Spring

This course is an introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and techniques. Students will learn to apply research techniques, such as data collection and analysis, both as researchers and to enhance clinical interpretation and practice skills. We will explore issues around the importance of research to the field of dance/movement therapy, particular challenges and opportunities associated with dance/movement therapy research, and the history of research in the field. While this course will provide a base of knowledge for the practicing dance/movement therapist to interpret and evaluate research, the goal is to create not only consumers but also creators of research. As such, students will learn about the process of research design, including ethical and legal considerations, and will create their own research project.

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Psychopathology

Graduate Seminar—Spring

This course is designed to provide students with a base of knowledge in psychopathology and to familiarize students with current conceptions and empirical findings in psychopathology research. Beginning with the question of how abnormality is defined, we will explore contemporary perspectives on psychopathology and focus more specifically on psychological disorders, their development and treatment, and controversies within the field. Additionally, this course will focus on the physiologic and motoric manifestations of illness, the role of dance/movement therapy in treatment, and challenges particular to dance/movement therapy intervention. This course will use the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5. Reading of the current manual will include discussion of recent changes and the impact on diagnostic understanding and treatment formulation.

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