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Newsletter No.4 My Journey of Dance Therapy Training

Journey of Dance Therapy Training

Hello, everyone! In this blog, I would like to talk about my journey as a trainee dance / movement therapist.

It is a master degree level and a full-time two year training course I did. In this training, trainees need to experimentally move and dance and come back to verbalisation to understand emotions that may arise. I must say that at the beginning of the training it nearly felt uncomfortable to me to “dance/move as I feel” rather than I normally do a set choreographed dance. Perhaps I did not know what “dance therapy” really means. Dance therapy focuses on emerging feeling through movement and relational connections or alliance with others. (So, we don’t “teach” dance!)

The 1st year of the training focuses on working with children and the 2ndyear on working with adults in our course. As we work on emotions, the process sometimes drains you a lot and you need lots of tissues. The training is very much experiential and theoretical as well. My placements as a trainee therapist were in a primary school, special needs school, pupil referral unit and a psychiatric ward at an NHS hospital. I had the most experienced supervisors and the dearest classmates with whom I shared this hard yet beautiful journey together. We also have to go to personal therapy once a week to understand our journey and personal stuff. I have chosen an art psychotherapist whom I still continue to see till today (7 years by now). I particularly loved the space where I could move with my colleagues; it was simply playful, beautiful and emotional. The space was confidential, safe yet sometimes intense as something personal was always shared among us. When I felt connection with others through movement, that moment was special and powerful and I think this is why dance therapy is effective for those who choose nonverbal communications. My first year was so joyful and rich that I had so much fun with my colleagues, going out, drinking, eating, dancing crazily etc.

However, just before the second year started, I lost my mother who had suffered from cancer for 6 years. When I landed in Japan, I heard from my father that she had taken a last breath. I was not in time to see her last. I saw her cold body in my church and followed the awake and funeral. I spent my whole summer of 2014 crying day and night.

I managed to come back to London and started the second year. At the beginning of the

second year, I decided to move as I exactly would feel. My dance turned to be stillness: my body just did NOT want to move, but stay still. I kept watching my colleagues moving in the space, noticing myself sitting in one place. I did not want to dance, move or do anything related to movement. I mourned throughout the year; in the classrooms, on the streets, at home, everywhere I went. Luckily, I had therapy every week where I could talk about my grief to my therapist. My therapist listened to me talking about my regrets, frustrations, sadness and sometimes anger towards my mother. My classmates sat with me staying still – they were there for me. I don’t know how I would have managed my bereavement without the therapeutic processes. I learnt to be true to move by my emotions – when my body wants to fly away, I will let her do so. When I know my body wants to stay still, I will follow this feel. Through my grieving experience, I can now resonate and stand by the side of people in therapy who wouldn’t like to move – I can accept the fact that they do NOT want to move!

I somehow managed to finish the course in summer 2015 and became a qualified therapist!

ニュースレターNo.4 – ダンスセラピー・トレーニングの旅







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