Things I wish I knew before entering the Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling program


After watching that video I got to thinking about my experience in the DMT & C program thus far.  Thinking back to that first day of the first summer intensive class, I can’t help but think of how naive I was.  I’ve only aged one year since the program has started, but I have grown so much.

In looking back, I realize how little I knew about dance/movement therapy (and the program) and how much I THOUGHT I knew.  For some reason, upon entering I had everything mapped out.  I already knew what the next two years had in store for me.  I already knew what this whole “dance/movement therapy” thing was.  I mean, c’mon, I wrote a sixty page paper on it in undergrad!

Boy, was I wrong.

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So I’ve started a list of things I wish I would have known (or have realized in retrospect) about Columbia College Chicago’s Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling MA Program.

  1. The people you meet in the program are not just your peers, they are your family.  Whomever starts the program with you is known as your cohort.  You literally take every course in the program with this cohort (other than a few electives) so you have a lot time to get to know them.  Thus, they kind of become like family– some days you love them and some days you hate them.  Either way, they’re your family.
  2. You do a lot of reading and writing.  Don’t be fooled by the word dance in the program’s title– there is a lot of required reading and writing (this is supplemented by movement projects of course). Although it’s a lot of reading and writing the material is exciting and information you want to know.
  3. You learn a lot, but mostly about yourself.  Sure we learn about pioneer dance/movement therapist Marian Chace and what it means to be kinesthetically empathic, but what we mostly learn about is ourselves.  This sounds a lot easier than it is.  But really, in order to become therapists as students, we need to figure out our own “shit”.  Trust me this has led to a lot of tears.  A lot, a lot of tears.
  4. There are so many ways to get inspired at Columbia and the city of Chicago. I think I knew this all along, hence why I chose to attend the school.  There is so much dance happening in the city, whether it’s at Links Hall, Museum of Contemporary Art, or at Columbia’s Dance Center.  And if you’re sick of dance, go to one of Columbia’s galleries to see other forms of art.

I e-mailed my fellow second-year peers and asked them what they wish they would have known.  Here is what they said.

  1. “Required classes meet on the weekend, not just electives.”
  2. “Every pre-conceived notion of who you think you are based on your memories and perceptions of how you think something might be, will be brought forward, confronted, and challenged until you come to the final conclusion that, in fact, you are who you are — and who you are is f*ing awesome.”
  3. “Tampons can only be purchased through the vending machines, and rarely are they stocked….things that make me go hmmm?”
  4. “I wish someone would’ve told me how many tears we’d feel.”