Creative Arts Therapists are human service professionals that help individuals, families, and groups improve their overall physical and mental health. They apply the principles and techniques of each art form in an effort to improve communications, allow expression of feelings, improve coordination, and increase cognitive and social function. Creative arts therapists sometimes specialize in a single area such as dance and movement therapy, drama therapy, art therapy, music therapy, or poetry therapy. They begin by interviewing patients and consulting other health professional to determine the psychotherapeutic needs of the patient. They then develop and implement a customized creative arts therapy program. They observe patients and maintain accurate records so they can consult with the rest of the therapeutic team, which may include physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, counselors, and teachers. Creative arts therapists work with a variety of patients including those with learning disorders, emotional problems, mental retardation, substance abuse/dependency, and physical disabilities. They may also be called upon to conduct scientific research and teach students and other professionals the latest therapeutic methods.
According to the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA): Based on the understanding that the body and mind are interrelated, dance/movement therapy (D/MT) is defined as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration of the individual. Dance/movement therapy is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational, and forensic settings, and in nursing homes, day care centers, disease prevention, and health promotion programs. The dance/movement therapist focuses on movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship. Expressive, communicative, and adaptive behaviors are all considered for both group and individual treatment. Body movement as the core component of dance simultaneously provides the means of assessment and the mode of intervention for dance/movement therapy.
I often define D/MT to clients as psychotherapy that is not limited to talking but encompasses the full range of human expression, including movement such as gestures and or postures, drawing, writing, drama, music and other expressions that can have a therapeutic benefit for the client(s).