A topic of discussion that has recently been raised in my Research Methods class is the subject of why dance movement therapists do research. I felt as though this was an interesting discussion, because, while I have always had my own personal reasons of why research is important, some of the reasons that came up were both enlightening and inspiring to me.
What first came to my mind when discussing why research is important to the field of dance/movement therapy was the fact that it was validating. However, as I thought about this term and what it truly means, I realized that there is so much more to research than just the fact that your data may reveal supportive evidence towards your claim. While research can be an extremely validating experience, it can be an opportunity to learn and educate oneself.
By studying the effects that different techniques and methods have on clients, research can help the field of DMT to grow. As clinicians (or as a future clinician, in my case) we can research as a means to study how common techniques may be adapted for use across the globe. Research then allows us the opportunity to inform not only ourselves but others, as well. The constant trade in information produced from research projects then allows us to not only learn from but also build off one another.
However, while the field of DMT is steadily growing, there are still many who are unaware of its existence. Sharing research helps to spread knowledge and therefore fosters awareness for dance/movement therapy and its value and benefits. Research can be extremely pivotal in expanding the profession as more information is made available to the public.
Lastly, research is a process and a beautiful one at that. I have to say that I myself have had my ups and downs when it comes to this process, which can be overwhelming at times, but in the end there is so much to be gained from researching within your field. This is particularly true at Columbia. While many students that partake in master’s degree programs are asked to defend their research, Columbia uses this time to celebrate the information achieved by the student.