1673 Carling, Unit 215-C, Ottawa

What is Dance/Movement Psychotherapy?

“Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather to all who can read it”
- Martha Graham

The formalized practice of Dance/Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) is rooted in the post-World War Two era. However, since prehistory, we have danced to invoke healing psychologically, physically and aesthetically. We have an innate understanding of the powerful synergy of body and movement; its absence is the absence of life.
Dance movement psychotherapy queries the body's voice, witnessing and honouring the story it tells. This approach contends that meaningful, lasting, holistic healing occurs when the body is heard and its story is woven into our broader narrative.

Research suggests (click here) that DMP is effective in treating trauma. Trauma inflicts violence on the body. The body remembers this transgression acutely, while the brain is biologically driven to rationalize and forget. This neurological response may limit therapeutic approaches that focus solely on cognitively restructuring trauma experiences without incorporating the body's voice. DMP is also used to treat other related challenges, including addiction, anxiety, depression and psychosomatic injuries.

Do I have to know how to dance?

No. a dmp session is not a dance class, it is an expressive movement experience in which your body is encouraged to move you and not the other way around! There are no right, wrong, good or bad qualities assigned to this process. For more information, click HERE.

What is a DMP session like?

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Sandra graduated with a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology (MACP) from Yorkville University and completed graduate studies in Dance and Movement Therapy (DMT) from the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) at the National Centre for Dance Therapy in Montreal.

Sandra is a Registered Psychotherapist (CRPO) and practices under the supervision of a Registered Psychotherapist and a Board-Certified DMT (ADTA).  In 2020, she was elected to the Board of the Dance Movement Therapy Association in Canada (DMTAC), which promotes the safe and ethical practice of DMT and proudly supports DMT professionals and their clients across Canada.

In addition to DMP, Sandra's practice is informed by Narrative Therapy, Attachment and Polyvagal theories and parts work. Combined, these approaches identify and build on client strengths and moments of resistance to the problem-saturated stories we hear and tell about ourselves. Through therapy, these stories are situated within the neurobiological spectrum of threat responses and safety-seeking behaviours. What often emerge from this integrated approach are new perspectives on the past and present, and fresh vistas for the future.  

Sandra has worked with clients living with trauma, psychosis, substance misuse (client or loved one), anxiety, depression and psychosomatic injuries. She actively engages with her clients from a client-led, trauma-informed, anti-oppression and non-judgemental stance.

Do you think change but don't feel changed? I believe change needs to be embodied to be enacted.