Dance-Movement Therapy offers expressive movement experiences that engage body, mind and emotion. Drawing on the therapeutic elements inherent in dance, therapists aim at restoring balance and integration in the areas of physical function, sensory development, emotional expression and mental functioning.

Dance therapy emerged as a profession in the 1960s in USA, and gradually became internationally established, beginning in Australia in the 1970s. It is an allied health profession that combines the creative process and the study of human movement into a holistic approach that draws upon the elements inherent in dance. Programs are designed to meet specific goals and bring about therapeutic change.

Australia’s practitioners come from backgrounds in dance, social work or the health sciences that include, for example, teaching, physiotherapy, psychology, and nursing. They are required to undergo extensive dance-movement therapy training together with supervised clinical practice. They may be employed solely as dance-movement therapists, or integrate dance-movement therapy within the broader context of their work.

The work of Dance-Movement Therapists is applicable to children and adults in diverse settings and can be adapted to the needs of clients with a wide range of specific and non-specific disorders and disabilities.

Dance-Movement therapists use observation and movement analysis to determine a dance-movement program to address client needs.

They typically move with a client or group of clients to establish rapport, and facilitate the client/s to move in ways that express their inner experience and/or extend their range of movement capabilities. Suggestions are made, however work proceeds at the client’s own pace.

Professional training equips dance-movement therapists with high level skills, theoretical understanding and professional practice principles, to work with people in an ethical and competent way

IDTIA Fees, based on past courses, are approximately

Certificate (1yr) $8,000. – $10,000.
ACT (2yrs) $8,000. – $10,000.

IDTIA does not offer fee help.

As the IDTIA only offers part-time courses it is not accredited by the Australian Government as a higher education provider. Therefore trainees are not eligible to access the deferred payment arrangements scheme through the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP).

Some assistance may be available through Centrelink although this is very much dependent on individual circumstances. Please visit the Centrelink website for more information.

Dance-Movement Therapy is used in clinical and community contexts. Therapists work in health, welfare and educational settings with children and adults (including mother and infant populations) who have emotional and psychological difficulties; sight, hearing or physical impairment; autism; learning problems; relationship difficulties; psycho-geriatric conditions; chronic illness; post partum difficulties; and, in rehabilitation, with people recovering from substance abuse, head injuries, abuse and trauma, and accident injuries.

The Certificate is a part-time modular structured course to facilitate attendance by interstate trainees.

The year is divided into 6 modules with each module consisting of a long weekend of study in Melbourne – commencing either Thursday or Friday morning and continuing through Saturday and Sunday.

Following each weekend intensive interstate students will receive one tutorial of a minimum of two hours duration with a home state tutor (where available). The dyads and placements can usually be undertaken in the student’s home state.

The IDTIA is a non-profit organisation and therefore relies on a minimum number of trainees enrolled in the Certificate and Advanced Clinical Training courses to make them financially viable.

While the Certificate Course is likely to run each year, not all Certificate students choose to continue on to Advanced Clinical Training level.

Therefore the Advanced Clinical Training Course may run less frequently.

As the Advanced Clinical Training Course does not run every year, the Certificate trainees may need to delay their Advanced Clinical Training for a year or more until the minimum number of applicants for the course is reached. However, some fieldwork undertaken between completion of the Certificate Course and commencement of the Advanced Clinical Training can be taken into account and credited as part of the total number of fieldwork hours required for successful completion of the Advanced Clinical Training.

The IDTIA advises the applicant to consider this matter carefully.

The actual study hours for the 6 modules total 188 hours (slightly less for the interstate students) in addition to 20 hours of dyads and 20 hours of fieldwork placement. There are also two written assignments to complete, one per semester. Although part time, the course is nevertheless challenging and requires the trainees to focus fully throughout the year.

Due to the nature of the training the Certificate course requires a mature approach.

Acceptance onto the course will depend on a number of criteria and all applications are individually assessed.

The IDTIA advises those without counseling training or experience to undertake a short course in counseling (one unit totaling 30 hours is recommended) prior to commencement of the Certificate.

While not a prerequisite for entry to the Certificate, it is nevertheless a requirement for acceptance into the Advanced Clinical Training.

A strong dance background is desirable for acceptance onto the Certificate Course.

However, the type of dance/movement training or experience may vary widely from one applicant to the next and all applications are individually assessed. Of primary importance is that the applicant displays a keen interest in dance/movement and is comfortable with using his/her body to explore movement.

The IDTIA advises applicants to attend a dance/movement class throughout the Course. The Certificate training is highly experiential and, at times, physically demanding, and it is the trainee’s responsibility to maintain an appropriate level of fitness and flexibility.

The Certificate Course is highly experiential and therefore attendance at each of the 6 weekend intensives in Melbourne is essential. There is no provision for any of these weekends to be undertaken via correspondence.

Students from overseas who do not hold Australian citizenship are welcome to attend the course. However, they will not be eligible to apply for a student visa as the IDTIA is not an accredited full-time training institution. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make his/her own inquiries regarding their immigration status.

The Australian Education International (AEI) Study in Australia is the official Australian Government website for international students and is available in over 20 different languages. It contains information about what you should do if you are interested in studying in Australia including information about accredited institutions, available courses, course costs, scholarships, visas, the application process, accommodation, and life in Australia.

After successful completion of the Certificate Course the graduate receives the award of a Certificate in Dance-Movement Therapy and is eligible to apply for Associate Membership of the Dance Therapy Association of Australia (DTAA).

After successful completion of the Advanced Clinical Training Course, an Advanced Clinical Training in Dance-Movement Therapy qualification is awarded. The Advanced Clinical Training graduate in most instances is eligible to apply for Professional Membership of the Dance Therapy Association of Australia (DTAA).

However, there are many categories of membership and, although the IDTIA training contributes significantly to full professional membership, additional training/experience may be required. For further details please visit the DTAA website

The IDTIA has insurance cover for trainees who are on placement assisting a dance-movement therapist. However, where the trainee does not have a therapist on site to supervise, as is often the case with the Advanced Clinical Training trainee, he/she is not covered by insurance.

The Dance Therapy Association of Australia offers an insurance scheme to current financial members and therefore the IDTIA recommends that the Advanced Clinical Training trainee apply for Membership of the DTAA to receive this very important benefit. For further details please visit the DTAA website.

On completion of the Course graduates naturally become a part of the dance therapy network. It is through maintaining contact and awareness that opportunities are often presented – membership of the IDTIA and the DTAA are also vital links. Occasionally, placements undertaken as part of the Course requirements can lead to future employment possibilities.

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