Dance Movement Psychotherapist

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will 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 will:

  • create a safe environment to promote communication
  • observe and assess your clients’ movements
  • plan individual or group movement sessions
  • find suitable music and create dance props
  • write reports and do admin tasks
  • take part in regular supervision sessions


You’ll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • knowledge of dance or movement forms and body language
  • knowledge of dance therapy and the link between dance and music styles
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure as well as self confidence (leadership skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • good verbal & written communication skills
  • time management skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Dance Movement Psychotherapist, you’ll typically need to pursue higher education. However, having a strong educational foundation and relevant skills can be beneficial for your future studies and career. Here are some relevant subjects:

  1. Biology or Psychology: These subjects can provide you with a basic understanding of human behaviour and the mind, which is valuable for dance movement therapy.
  2. Physical Education (PE) or Dance: Courses in PE or dance can help you develop a good understanding of body movement and physical fitness.
  3. English Language: Strong communication skills are essential for documenting patient progress and working with colleagues in a healthcare setting.
  4. Art or Creative Subjects: Courses related to art, drama, or creative expression can help you appreciate the therapeutic aspects of the arts and creative movement.
  5. Mathematics (Maths): Basic math skills are important for managing budgets and financial aspects if you plan to start your own practice.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • volunteering


You’ll need a postgraduate master’s degree in dance movement psychotherapy.

To do a postgraduate master’s degree 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 form, as well as experience of other forms of dance and movement
  • the ability to improvise and use movement as a form of expression


You’ll need paid or voluntary experience of working with vulnerable people. You could gain this through youth work or volunteering to support people with disabilities or mental health issues.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local public hospital trust for further advice.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-39 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends occasionally.

You could work in a public or private hospital, in a prison or at a school. Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

Career Path & 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.