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Dance movement psychotherapist

Dance movement psychotherapists use dance and movement to help people deal with emotional, psychological and physical issues.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £26,250 to £48,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 30 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need:

To get onto a master’s degree course you’ll need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject like dance, performing arts, psychology, medicine or nursing, or an equivalent professional qualification
  • 2 years’ background in at least one dance or movement form, as well as experience of other forms of dance and movement
  • the ability to improvise and use movement as a form of expression
  • at least one year of relevant paid or unpaid work experience helping people overcome problems or difficulties
ADMP UK has more information about becoming a dance movement psychotherapist.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • ability in at least one form of dance and movement
  • excellent observational skills
  • creativity, intuition and a good imagination
  • the ability to inspire and motivate clients
  • excellent communication skills and the ability to listen
  • report writing skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll work with individuals and groups to:

  • improve self-esteem, self-awareness and perception of body image
  • improve communication skills
  • gain insights into patterns of behaviour
  • create coping strategies and find new ways to manage life

You’ll work with clients who have:

  • physical disabilities
  • learning disabilities
  • emotional or behavioural problems
  • mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety
  • addictions or eating disorders

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • observing and assessing your clients' movements
  • planning individual or group movement sessions
  • finding suitable music and creating props for sessions
  • creating a safe environment to promote communication
  • writing reports and updating client records
You’ll also work closely with other professionals like psychologists, social workers, teachers and other therapy specialists.

4. Salary

Starter: £26,250 to £35,250

Experienced: £31,250 to £41,250

Highly Experienced: up to £48,000 (senior therapist)

In private practice your salary will depend on whether you’re employed or working freelance. Therapists usually charge between £25 and £60 an hour.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Your working hours will usually be 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may need to cover weekends and evenings.

You could work in schools, hospitals, prisons and day centres, depending on your role.

The work can be physically and emotionally demanding, so you'll need emotional strength and the ability to cope with challenging situations.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could teach dance movement psychotherapy, or provide clinical supervision to less experienced colleagues.

You could be a consultant, set up in private practice or work on a self-employed, freelance basis.

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Last updated: 06 December 2016