Case study

Dance movement psychotherapist — Ezgi Aydogan

Ezgi graduated from the University of Derby with an MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP). She now works in a preschool in Poland

How did you get your job?

During my studies I completed clinical placements in six different settings where I worked with children, adolescents, adults and the elderly with a variety of emotional, social, physical and cognitive needs. These placements helped me to find my area of interest. This was useful during my job search, as I focused on looking for jobs with the client group I most wanted to work with.

After my studies, my plan was to move to Warsaw, Poland to search for DMP jobs with children. With help from the careers service at my university, I prepared my CV and cover letter and searched for opportunities in Warsaw. One day I received a call from Kraina Emocji Preschool. This opportunity was perfect for me as the school intensively focus on developing Emotional Intelligence (EI) in young children. I currently work as a full-time dance movement psychotherapist and aim to contribute EI in young children through the use of dance movement psychotherapy.

What's a typical day like as a DMP?

I work with children aged between three and seven, both in group and individual settings. In addition to this, I provide mother/father sessions and group/individual adult sessions. With young children, sessions have different themes; space, speed, flow, focus, etc. With older children, I use movement activities, which focus on violence prevention, understanding physical sensations, body and spatial awareness, empathy building, calming strategies and relaxation.

I love to use and teach practical movement interventions that children can use outside of therapy whenever they need. I also work for the Institute for Emotional Development, where I provide weekly therapy sessions.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy being a part of child's journey. Every day I travel with a child's imagination to different places, where I learn lot about vulnerability, strength and love. I feel from the bottom of my heart that I do what I love, and this also shapes the meaning of my life.

What are the challenges?

Working with children requires patience, tolerance and flexibility. Building therapeutic relationship is key. The therapist should not only focus on a child's body and movement profile, but also be well-educated about brain development.

How has your role developed?

When I first started my job, I was not a full-time DMP. I mostly worked as a teacher with young children and provided DMP to older children. Although this experience sounds irrelevant to DMP, the things I learned about children's emotional development were priceless.

I then started to provide individual DMP sessions to younger children. I currently provide group therapy sessions, individual sessions, sessions with the mother/father and individual/group sessions with adults (parents). My progression from teacher to DMP took a year.

How do I get into DMP?

  • Decide on your area of interest. Internships usually help you to understand which client population you are most interested in.
  • I highly recommend being flexible, especially at the beginning of your career path. I started as a part-time teacher/therapist, before moving into my DMP role.

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