About Dance Movement Therapy

The Indian Association of Dance Movement Therapy (IADMT) defines DMT as a psychotherapeutic method that uses movement and creative expression to further socio-emotional, cognitive and somatic integration. This approach is based on the principle that the body and mind are integrated. It helps in self-expression to bring about a change in the total functioning of an individual. DMT is for individuals of all ages, gender, races and ethnic backgrounds in individual, couples, family and group therapy formats.

As an individual’s movement is seen as a form of communication, Dance Movement Therapists utilise this art form to help individuals or the group find a way to  express their emotions and their experiences which helps in their own internal processes.

Dance Movement Therapy also provides a holistic and creative approach to healing and wellness. It asserts that the body and mind are interconnected wherein, changes of the body reflect changes in the mind and vice versa. DMT is primarily a sensory and kinaesthetic experience and recognises that all movements are unique. It is based on the presumption that:

  • Movement is universal and the first form of communication
  • Movements can be of various types, that is, functional, developmental, expressive and communicative
  • Movement may be used as an assessment tool and/or as a primary mode of intervention
  • All movements have meaning, reflect the personality of the mover and the creative process embodied in the use of free association in movement is inherently therapeutic
  • To develop a safe and trusting relationship with the client
  • To support and encourage the client’s movements by either mirroring, suggesting or empathetically observing and acknowledging movements
  • To give space and allow free-association of movement
  • To allow and encourage various emotions that emerge during the process
  • To use the psychological/psychotherapeutic framework in conjunction with movement analysis and observation tools to understand how the client relates to themselves and others in the environment
  • To design and implement programmes for diverse client groups 
  • Experiencing difficulties or concerns with emotional problems, conflict or distress
  • Who may find some feelings or experiences too overwhelming, or difficult to be communicated with words alone, or for those who may avoid feelings 
  • Whose problems are bound up in the body in form of body tension, or impaired movements or anxieties about proximity, physical contact or trust
  • Whose impairment or trauma may hinder the capacity for them or others to acknowledge and understand the personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Increasing self-awareness, self-esteem and personal autonomy
  • Experiencing links between thought, feelings and actions
  • Expressing and managing overwhelming feelings and thoughts that interrupt learning
  • Maximizing opportunity of communication through movement, play or other resources that the client chooses to use
  • Testing inner feeling with outer reality by using the safety of the therapeutic relationship
  • Taking risks by initiating physical, emotional and cognitive shifts to enhance social interaction and emotional regulation
  • Mental health settings/ in Psychiatry
  • Special schools
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Hospital settings
  • Educational settings such as schools, colleges, universities
  • Forensic settings
  • Nursing homes
  • Pediatrics, children and youth psychiatry and psychotherapy
  • Neurology
  • Pain
  • Oncology
  • Private practice

DMT Professionals

Indian Association of Dance Movement Therapy aims to be inclusive, culturally appropriate and indigenously relevant. Therefore, while looking at the diversity of programs available in the country and the need of various types of DMT work, we recognize the following categories of DMT related professionals in India:

Dance Movement Therapy Facilitators (DMTF)

These are facilitators who have done certification programs taught by qualified DMTs or DMTPs. In order to continue being recognized as a DMTF, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in the form of regular client work, self-work, supervision, attending workshops and conferences etc. must be attended to annually.

Dance Movement Therapy Practitioners (DMTP)

This role requires a diploma level training, taught by qualified DMTs. In order to continue being recognized as a DMTP, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in the form of regular client work, self-work, supervision, attending workshops and conferences etc. must be attended to annually.

Dance Movement Therapists or Dance Movement Psychotherapists (DMTs or DMPs)

In order to become a DMT or DMP, a minimum qualification of a master’s level program is required. IADMT recognises that currently, there is no Indian masters program that meets these requirements. In order to continue being recognised as a DMT or DMP, the individual is expected to meet the CPD requirements in the form of regular client work, self-work, supervision, attending workshops and conferences etc.

A list of vetted institutions and universities that provide DMT related trainings will be available soon. 

Dance Movement Therapists or Dance Movement Psychotherapists (DMTs or DMPs)

In order to become a DMT or DMP, a minimum qualification of a master’s level program is required. IADMT recognises that currently, there is no Indian masters program that meets these requirements. In order to continue being recognised as a DMT or DMP, the individual is expected to meet the CPD requirements in the form of regular client work, self-work, supervision, attending workshops and conferences etc.

Therapists and Counsellors using DMT

IADMT also recognizes that there are several counsellors and psychologists who are recognized by other esteemed institutions and associations who use Dance Movement Therapy or Therapeutic Movement in their practice but cannot claim the title of Dance Movement Therapist without a masters degree in the modality. We urge them to use either titles of Psychotherapist / Psychologist / Counsellor using DMT or TMF or DMTP, according to their qualifications.