ADTA Conference, Miami, October 17-20, 2019
The 54th Annual ADTA Conference in Miami was filled with dance, emotion and wonderful learning opportunities this year. We are so proud of our board members who presented their important work – Dr. Jacelyn Biondo, Dr. Rebekka Dieterich-Hartwell and Elizabeth McNamara. I was also proud of the board members who represented the chapter at the Regional Caucus meeting. We were able to get some feedback from a Pittsburgh member during this meeting, and as President, I found this information very helpful as we continue to try and meet the needs of all of our members. In addition to the Regional Caucus, Dawn Morningstar, East Coast Region MAL, along with the other regional MALs hosted a Chapter Board gathering which Rebekka and I attended. We were able to share our successes and challenges and problem-solve with other board members from all over the country.
The Grand Opening began with two performances representing the theme of the immigrant experience, identity and transformation. The Business meeting's Annual Report offered some sobering news about the organization such as a continued decrease in membership, however, the ADTA continues to be fiscally healthy and responsible. The Keynote Plenary Session highlighted the ADTA's efforts to transform our community into one where all members feel free and safe to be their true selves. Embodied presentations by four Affinity Groups of the Multicultural and Diversity Committee were witnessed and participants were given time after each presentation to express in silence either through movement, writing or drawing. Afterwards, Carmen Marshall led the group in continued exploration of being seen.
Please know that your board members are continuing this important exploration of power and privilege within our own chapter. The board has been charged with creating action steps that address these issues, but we recognize that members' voices are integral to this dialogue - we would love to hear your ideas about how we can support increasing diversity and inclusion locally. Please reach out and email us - we look forward to the process of improving the chapter - for all of us.
All my best,
Adina Rosenberg, MCAT, BC-DMT, LPC
PA ADTA Chapter President
Trauma-Informed Care Panel, 11/16/2019
On November 16th, 2019, the PA ADTA welcomed four clinicians to share their theory, practice, and anecdotes of embodied, trauma-informed work. The panel included Rachael Socha, a Drama Therapist working with Children and Families in an outpatient setting, Amy Hunter, a Dance/Movement Therapist working with Children and Adolescents in the school setting, Anne Margrethe Melsom, a Dance/Movement Therapist working with adults in an inpatient psychiatric hospital, and Elizabeth McNamara, a Dance/Movement Therapist working in Private practice.
The panel began with a brief overview of Trauma Informed Therapy delivered by Elizabeth McNamara establishing operational definitions and a foundation for the four presentations to follow. Each of the panelists then shared their theoretical framework, entry into the delicate role of using a trauma-informed, embodied therapy practice, and specific vignettes to coalesce the knowledge. The fluidity of the transitions made it feel as if one panelist was meant to lead directly to the next. Although each setting, population, and acuity level varied, the panelists beautifully shared the subtleties and expertise of their specific work.
An informal networking event followed the panel during which light refreshments were served. This allowed panelists and participants to engage in a continued dialogue, share questions and discussions, and create space for clinical advice and inquiries, and forging new connections between students and professionals. The audience was made up of equal parts students and professionals, which offered an intimate opportunity for generations of therapy students, new clinicians, and seasoned clinicians to engage together and continue to conversation around the power of the body and movement as an intervention to help people who have experienced trauma begin to heal.
Book Club, 4/16/2018
Monday April 16, 2018 the PA and NJ Chapters held the first ever Book Club, a virtual discussion that included Rebekka Dieterich-Hartwell and her journal article “The Art of Reaching Out”, an artistic inquiry that led to a thought-provoking conversation among 10 therapists on the East Coast. The Book Club is meant to bring dmts together to review the latest research in our field, without borders or boundaries when it comes to location. The ZOOM format applied itself very well to this endeavor – it is user-friendly and no cost to participants. If you are interested in future book club meetings, please contact Adina Rosenberg at 215-431-3111.
ADTA Conference, 11/1-11/5/2017
The motto for the ADTA 2017 conference in San Antonio was “Movement as Pathway to Neuro-Resilience and Social Connection.” With a beautiful setting – the hotel was right in the heart of the San Antonio River Walk, a meandering river with countless restaurants around its banks – and many interesting seminars and workshops, it was stimulating both for body and mind.
Unlike in years past, the conference officially began on Thursday night, after several intensives and a slew of 75 minute seminars. For the next three days, one could choose from diverse workshops, attend a poster session of nine dance/movement therapy research projects, listen to the inspiring Robyn Flaum Cruz give the Marian Chace Foundation Lecture on “Rhythms of Research & Dance/Movement Therapy,” watch “The Moving Child,” a film that taps into the importance of dynamic movement for children’s development, learn from Dennis McCarthy, the keynote speaker, about his work with children and, last but certainly not least, dance the night away with likeminded, enthusiastic and oh so expressive movers and shakers.
Of particular interest to the PA chapter readers may be that the Regional Eastern Caucus meeting was well attended and very positive with attendees sharing highlights and accomplishments in the field of DMT on the east coast. On a more personal note, I loved that I could travel for half a day into a state I had never been to, encountering cowboy hats, southern accents, and exotic plants, and yet feel so “at home” and part of a community that is truly special and one of a kind.
Workshop with Tina Erfer, 10/1/2017
As we gathered in a circle we were asked to both identify what drew us to the workshop and then silently consider our intention for the hours we would spend together. I heard and shared familiar words of self-care, getting back to movement, and the desire to learn.
Dance/movement therapists, seasoned and new, DMT students, a music therapist, and a physical therapy assistant joined together for the next three hours in quiet, authentic movement. Tina Erfer led us through movement, subtle suggestions, reflective journaling, and opportunities to share in her workshop: Renew Your Spirit, Remember Your Self—Through Dance and Authentic Movement.
Thoughts, music, poems, or silence were offered during our investigatory movement times; throughout the process, Tina gently held our space and offered what felt like silent encouragements. There were moments for self-investigations, moments for joining with others: always with the through line of moving authentically and listening to your innermost impulses.
As our bodies filled with breath, we gave ourselves allowance to be with ourselves through stillness and movement, to connect with others, to honor our bodies, to acknowledge our thoughts, and to exist in a space of kindness and togetherness. Dance/movement therapy, in its many forms, has the capacity to transform, to heal, to teach, to process, and to understand. Today in this brief workshop, we breathed in all that was good, and—as Tina suggested—left behind what was no longer needed.
The Pennsylvania Chapter of the Dance Therapy Association deeply thanks Tina Erfer for sharing her knowledge, and all of the participants who shared in our journeys today. We hope to see each and every one of our chapter members at our next workshop.