In this volume

2009 Vol. 8 Nos. 3-4

Creative Movement, Healing Moment – Interviews

Turner syndrome, mother-infant relationship, creative arts therapy,transformation, qualitative research, clinical practice

Elizabeth Mackenzie interviews Elizabeth Loughlin exploring her professional journey and roles as dance therapist, dancer, studio dance teacher, social worker, writer and mentor. Elizabeth’s pioneering efforts to develop dmt within two Melbourne Hospitals include her research contributions nationally and internationally and advocacy within the medical setting for an arts-based approach to supporting women with Turner Syndrome. Her innovative approach offering an artistic therapeutic experience to the relational space between mothers and babies, including mothers with children with disabilities has been extensively documented, researched and taught by Elizabeth, whilst contributing to her foundational work in establishing the DTAA. (pp 2-11)

Dance For Mothers and Toddlers

separate self, space & form, poetic, connection, artistic expression, natural world

A creative reflection on what the dance is in the relational mother-child space, providing a way for exploration, expression and connection with the potential for the mother to ” see the spirit of the child and to share his effervescence.”  Touching on elements that support – includes music, props, collections from nature and ways-of-being that can nurture an imaginative leap and expand upon the emotional availabilities within the mother. (pp 12-13)

Dance Therapy

felt sense, internal landscapes, maladaptive patterns, Laban movement analysis, code of ethics, clinical work

We are pleased to be able to reprint the following article on Dance Therapy in Australia in this focus on Elizabeth Loughlin. It was published in the Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia in 2003 and is reprinted here with the kind permission of Currency House Inc. NSW, the publishers. It provides a valuable record and commentary on the development of dance movement therapy in this country.

This article gives a description of dance therapy and wide array of medical and psychological conditions it can be beneficial for as well as the settings it is offered within. Following this, is the historical development of the profession in America and Australia and the training pathways that have emerged to align the profession with a psychotherapeutic approach, with training options at post graduate levels. (pp 14-16)

Working with Elizabeth – Reminiscences of 1974

children, special needs, play, sensory motor stimulation, mother-infant relationship, group therapy

Jane reminiscences on her transforming journey meeting Elizabeth Loughlin, at the inaugural Noah’s Ark Toy Library, a catalyst centre for a whole new way of meeting the therapeutic aims, education and development for babies and children with special needs – through play. Aspects of their foundational work are shared, including the props, music and relational responding to the emotional needs of the mother-child bond, now accepted specialist approaches in psychological and psychiatric settings. (pp 18-19)

Intergenerational Dance/Movement Therapy

person-centred approach, dementia, group work, ritual, quality of life, compassion, community

Jessica was a Hanny Exiner Memorial Fund Grant recipient for this project, offering weekly sessions within in an aged care setting, with both young children and elderly people. Each week’s description is richly woven with small vignettes of experiencing for both the children and the elderly. Explorations within new relationships were provided with play, touch, spontaneity, singing and dancing combined with props and art making – whilst sharing special rituals and stories. (pp 20-25)


Dancing with Child Soldiers

trauma, restoration, reconciliation, circle dance, group drama, grief, community integration

The DTAA wishes to thank John Feffer, editor of Foreign Policy in Focus, who very kindly gave us permission to reprint this article from the online journal of the Institute for Policy Studies. The article first appeared in Volume 4 number 24. See

David introduced Sierra Leonean and Liberian counsellors to dance/movement therapy practice—in 2005, launching the first DMT group in West Africa; and in 2006, apparently the first DMT group anywhere for former child combatants. David’s psychosocial counselling team sought to merge two dominant models, synthesizing local knowledge with psychological practices that originated in the West, by helping the transformation of their suffering and rage through bodily engagement akin to ancient initiatory rites as well as through cognitive reframing and verbal processing. Powerful expressions of emotion and empathy emerged over months of group games, dancing and dramatisation, culminating in a healing group performance for their community. (pp 26-30)


Tell Me a Story – Dance Me a Dance

interpretive dance, descriptive language, kinaesthetic intelligence, literacy, Laban movement analysis, story making

This article was previously published online on the well known children’s literacy website:

Dafna writes ‘Children love to move and can use their kinesthetic intelligence to learn literacy skills. Theme and variation, descriptive language, beginning, middle and end, keeping track, and sequencing are all skills needed to be a good reader, writer, choreographer and improvisational dance maker.’ She describes this as a creative and engaging activity for sustaining children’s interest in stories, whilst activating their embodied imaginations. (pp 31-33)

Talking Point: Body/Mind

relgious practices, mind-body theory, dualism, scientific evidence, dance therapy philosophy

In 2008, a dance therapist brought to the attention of the ADTA listserve the following book review from the Harvard Gazette “Sobering look at ‘mind-body connection’ Scholar shows religious roots of current practices” by Amy Lavoie. It caused quite a stir and prompted quite some discussion – understandably, because the book would appear to challenge one of the cornerstones of dance therapy philosophy and theory, namely the integral connection of mind and body. We have printed below the article in full, by kind permission of the Harvard Gazette, and included some comments from the listserve. (pp 34-37)

A 3-D Perspective in Dance Movement Therapy: Define; Deconstruct; and Dance – Presented by Michelle Royal

professional development, personal exploration, group work, storytelling, supervision

This workshop took place surrounding the DTAA’s AGM in November, 2009.

Robyn reflects on her participation in Michelle Royal’s professional development workshop. Methods used included story telling and experiential movement to explore a professional question from different perspectives: the problem, the antidote and the space in-between. This concept was drawn from supervision work with Penny Best and was intended to be adaptable for use with clients. (pp 53-54)

When there is more than one: some considerations for managing group dance therapy – A workshop by Sue Mullane

intellectual disability, school setting, existential phenomenology, collaborative play, gesture, collective energy

Kim reviews the experiential workshop led by Sue Mullane drawing on her work with groups of children with diverse high needs, in a school context. Phases of the program including accompanied solos and collaborative group play are discussed, along with the philosophical influences framing therapy program. (p.55)

A Reflection on Lifedance

professional development, elements, integration, power symbol, experiential, corporate

Lyn reflected: “Sara Boas led us in a journey that gave us a glimpse into her Lifedance™ creation – a process she has developed over 25 years, and used with a vast array of clients. These range from community centres, political leaders, multinational organisations and the general public. We brought to the day a question on our development as dance therapists, and found the answer revealed in a response with the primal connection to the elements.” (p. 56)

LIFEdance! Live your dance, Dance your Life – A Reflection

nature elements, symbolism, professional development, co creation, quintessence, corporate setting

Anjali reflects on her experiences of a ‘LIFEdance’ workshop facilitated by DMT Sara Boas, described by Sara as a “facilitated process for personal and professional development that draws on DMT, leadership development, anthropology, performance, poetry, martial arts, coaching and neurolinguistic programming.” The use of the 5 elements from nature: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and wood, metal or quintessence became symbolic metaphors for exploring a significant professional question dynamically by using movement, play and sound. (pp 57-61)

Transcultural competence: exploring the body of culture

cultural differences, values, transcultural, intrapersonal, interpersonal, consciousness

Sue shares a response to her experiencing of Sara Boas’ experiential workshop, that “explored the five elements she has identified which enable the practicing therapist to ‘co-create’ a new cultural form or identity with their client, in order to fully meet their client as they exist in their context.” The exploration included embodying styles of greeting, story telling from various perspectives and embodied identification of different relational positions. (pp 63-64)


Professional Issues – Marketing and Promotion: Entrepreneurial Michelle Royal

professional development, advocacy, education, awareness, Medicare Levy

Michelle shares her challenges applying for positions to work as a DMT and raises the issues for professional understanding and inclusion of the profession. Moving On Editors note: “We feel that Michelle, in her situation, has turned a negative into a positive. She didn’t let the response daunt her but came out fighting to promote DMT.” (p.67)