Diploma of Dance Movement Therapy




On campus in Melbourne


One-year full time

Part-Time also available in 2015

Course Format

Classes are held Tuesdays and Fridays (9.30 - 4.30) between February and December with breaks coinciding with school holidays.

Part-time students Tuesdays (1.30-4.30 p.m) and Fridays (9.30-12.30 pm)

In between classes, students’ time is taken up with reading course materials, undertake homework and assessment tasks, preparing assignments, undertaking Placements and other small group activities.

VET Fee Help and Austudy

Available for qualifying students

Why study this course?

The Diploma of Dance Movement Therapy (10378NAT) is an exciting new course offered at the Phoenix Institute of Australia, commencing in 2014.  It is recognised by the national regulatory body, Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), and is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to practice dance movement therapy.

The qualification provides a basic level of training for work in the field of counselling and psychotherapy, utilising dance movement therapy as the primary means of engaging with diverse client groups.  Students develop skills and knowledge in counselling and dance movement therapy theory and practice, and develop capacity to communicate using a range of dance movement-based therapeutic techniques.

Course overview

Dance movement therapy is an expressive arts therapy and specialised form of counselling and psychotherapy based on the primary language of movement and dance.  Its theoretical base is underpinned by the interconnectedness of body and mind, that is, the conception that changes in movement impact the psyche and total functioning of the individual.  It recognises the fundamental role of dance as a creative and therapeutic process.

The course presents an integrative holistic approach to dance movement therapy and its functions in addressing emotional, cognitive, social, behavioural and physical concerns of individual clients and groups.  It draws from psychodynamic, systemic and humanistic models, underpinned by skills training in Laban Movement Analysis (LMA). Through theory and practice students are encouraged to develop their own unique style, philosophy and approach to dance therapy practice.

The course introduces the function of dance throughout human history and its development into the profession of dance movement therapy.  Students will learn how dance has been used therapeutically throughout time and across cultures, and how current practices of dance movement therapy contribute to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities in contemporary society.  The role of modern expressionist dance in the development of dance as a therapy is introduced and explored in relation to key methodologies of dance movement therapy practice.

LMA is a system of movement observation and description that is integral to dance movement therapy practice, and as such is introduced early in the course.  It provides the essential working language used by dance movement therapists, and a means of recording expressive movement.  The student will learn how to use the comprehensive framework of LMA to support assessment, the setting of therapeutic movement goals, and interventions to expand clients’ expressive movement range.

Students will be encouraged to embody learning throughout the course through the use of individual explorations of personal themes, as well as the material presented.  Experiential classroom learning usually progresses from individual personal explorations, to relationship with others and the group as a whole. 

Person-centred care is emphasised, and dance and movement are used to expand expression, communication, and growth through therapeutic relationships. Case management will be approached from a dance movement therapy perspective with specific counselling techniques woven into module content.  Specific techniques of counselling including assessment, structuring and facilitating a session, working with diverse populations and responding to complex client issues will be covered.

Students will have the opportunity to commence working in the field and apply their knowledge and skills under supervision. Most of the fieldwork and supervision sessions take place towards the end of the course concurrently with the modules focusing on working with diverse client groups, professional practice and ethics.

The aim of the course is to provide students with knowledge, skills and experience so that they can develop, deliver and evaluate dance movement therapy programs ethically and effectively.

Career outcomes

On completion of the Diploma, students can apply for Associate Membership of the Dance Therapy Association of Australia (DTAA) and graduates can obtain professional indemnity insurance to practice to apply dance movement therapy in the field.  The course is also accredited by the Australian Association of Holistic and Transpersonal Counsellors (AAHTC) and members can obtain professional indemnity insurance.

What to do next

CLICK HERE to attend our next Free Information Evening or RSVP via email to book your place and receive information pack.

If you are interested in applying for the course, please complete the Application Form and call Phoenix on 03 9510 4264 to book in for an interview which is the first step in the enrolment process.