M.Sc. Dance Movement Psychotherapy ( U.K.)
M.A. Clinical Psychology ( Mumbai)
M.A. Indian Folk Dance ( Mumbai)
Kovida, Visharad Bharat Natyam ( Mumbai)
My journey with Dance Movement Psychotherapy started at the age of 19, when I first discovered this exciting possibility of combining in my belief, that dance is transformative and my academic pursuit to understand different mental health difficulties and help people to heal.
I have pursued dance ever since I could remember. It's been one constant in my life . The strength , the discipline, the curiosity and the patience that have been inculcated in me is through training and performing Indian classical form of Bharat Natyam for over 18 years is an integral part of who I am as a person today.
My masters in Indian folk dance was something I chose to discover for my body, to experience the tribal forms and be a part of a social group dance. It was wonderful to feel the tribal rhythms in my body and to feel the shared experience and energy of the group. It changed my movement patterns and I now understand how it opened me to unstructured way of moving and feeling, something that I was unaware of for very long.
While pursuing other western forms, I continued my education in human psychology. After being opened to this field and the possibility of becoming a dance movement psychotherapist in near future, I finished my masters in Clinical psychology. I feel that since I wanted to eventually work in India and bringing my understanding and learning of Dance Movement Psychotherapy to India, I needed to work in India to understand the mental health needs of the those living here . The lack of infrastructure and the mere condition of the mental health scenario in India made me more compassionate, more empathic and made me understand the seriousness of how much difference I could make as a Dance Movement Therapist in India to people and institutions here.
My work and education in The UK pushed me both as a person and as a professional. It was one of the hardest journeys I have had to take on a personal front. Professionally it's been a great experience to start from scratch in some of the placements while also having enjoyed perks of already established centres that value dance movement therapy as a treatment modality.
Using these experiences over the years as well as introspection of my current experiences shape my work ethic, my approach towards the people I work with and who I am as a person.
M.Sc. Dance Movement Psychotherapy (U.K.)
M.Sc. Counselling Psychology (Chennai)
Dance defines me - who I am and what I do. I was introduced to this way of life at the age of 6. It taught me discipline, determination and persistence and has made me the person I am. Professionally I have received certification in jazz, ballet, contemporary and hip hop from the Commonwealth Society for Teachers of Dancing (CSTD), Australia. I have taught jazz and hip hop to children between the age of 5 and 12 - something I truly enjoyed and it taught me to be responsible, reliable and observant. I perceive dance as something beyond mere choreography and performance. It is a form of expression and emotion – a comfort and solace. This is what led me to explore and look at dance as therapy.
My foray into the professional world of healing through dance started when I took part in a year-long internship at RASA School for holistic development, soon after my undergraduate course in Psychology. Here I worked as a facilitator for individuals between the age of 14 to 50, using arts (dance, drama, art and storytelling) to achieve social, behavioral and cognitive goals. Thus began the process of creatively working with individuals through body and other creative mediums. This motivated me to pursue a masters in Dance Movement Psychotherapy in the UK. The exposure and knowledge from the course helped chart my career as a therapist. Though the journey was an arduous one on a personal and professional level, it enabled me to live my dream and establish movement therapy in India. It provided me with opportunities to work in different settings with varied people and taught me to work as part of a team. I have started Horizon Therapy Centre in Chennai (May 2016) that provides counselling through arts based therapies. It aims to provide an alternative medium of expression for children and young adults.
This was my foundation and I continue to build on this with my experiences as a consulting therapist. My work makes my life meaningful and constantly sculpts my approach as a therapist and a human being.
We believe that when the mind and body work towards synchrony, this process can be used to reconstruct a more adaptive and healthy functioning individual. This is a creative and self-exploratory process that does not involve teaching dance forms.
You do not need any prior dance knowledge or experience to participate in DMP workshops and sessions. There is no limitation to the range of movement abilities to engage in therapeutic work ( i.e. Fairly mobile to wheelchair bound). Since this is a form of psychotherapy, it is founded in the principles of confidentiality, non-judgemental and unconditional acceptance, providing a safe environment for you to explore your experience in movement.
We are internationally licensed therapists with professional registrations with the Association of Dance Movement Psychotherapy (ADMP), UK , American Dance Therapy Association ( ADTA) and Creative Movement Association of India (CTMAI).
Honorary Member on the Advisory Board for Creative Movement Association of India
My work here on board includes contributing ideas towards re-conceptualizing & strengthen the effectiveness of CMTAI's already existing programs & events and developing ethical code of practice.
Dance Movement Psychotherapist and Clinical Psychologist
Goenka and Associates Educational Trust Counselling Centre, Mumbai
My work here involves being a DMP for about 120 students with special needs attending different projects in an individual as well as group format. My work involves building evidence based practice to further our work in the field of dance movement psychotherapy.
As a team of psychologists at the school, my work is involves being a part of designing creative arts based modules for parents and children of mainstream school as well as conducting creative arts based workshops for the staff inclusive of teachers, staff, occupational therapists, speech therapist and special educators. I am also involved in psychological assessments and screening work.
Clinical Psychologist and Dance Movement Psychotherapist
Janakalyan Sevashram, Mumbai
My work here involves providing counselling services for children who come from a difficult background by using creative arts therapies. Different programs have been developed to train the staff and the volunteers to work empathically with the children. Group work with children is based in DMP is an important part of the work here at the Ashram.
Consultant Dance Movement Psychotherapist
Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Society, India
My journey with PDMDS started as a volunteer to then being employed with them as a clinical psychologist and dance movement therapist. Since 2009, my work has been community based support work which involves using dance movement therapy interventions for the Wellbeing of PD patients and their caregivers. It has also involved helping to form the creative movement module for training group across the country.
The work described can be accessed in this wonderful article written by Patricia Capello in American Journal of Dance Therapy through the link below:
This discussions of the panel were revisited by Dr.Richard Coaten in the ADMPUK quarterly” E-Motion, Winter 2017. The link to this is available here:
My work here has been written about in the following article. To know more about How DMP works with PD please read the following link given below
My video entry to the World Parkinson's Congress,2013 describing my journey with movement and PD can be viewed on the link given below
In 2015, the CEO of PDMDS, Dr. Maria Barretto and I presented our work with PD and Dance therapy at the Indian Federation Of Neuro-Rehabilitation Conference, Mumbai. Below is the Link to the Video part of the presentation
To understand about Parkinson's Disease and how a multidisciplinary treatment approach can help including movement therapy watch the following video
Trainer :Creative Movement Therapy Certification Course. (Pune)
Creative Movement Therapy Association of India and Artsphere Pune
The role covers a training program learning theoretical underpinning and practical application of Dance Movement Psychotherapy across clinical populations and development of research practices in DMP along with provision of supervision and support to the trainees.
Honorary Dance Movement Psychotherapist
Anandi School for Children with special needs, MUMBAI
Private Practice ( 2013- present)
Individual and group sessions for children, adolescents, adults and elderly for neuro- rehab and psychological rehabilitation.
Using Movement Therapy to work with these young people to walk the ramp at amazing closing ceremony.
Director and Dance Movement Psychotherapist
Horizon Therapy Centre, Chennai (www.horizontherapycentre.com)
A comfort zone that helps children and young adults understand, accept and cope with difficulties through creative expression. Each individual will be supported as they embark on their journey of creative processing embedded in principles of counselling and psychotherapy. We at horizon aim at offering an alternative form of expression for when talking is difficult or not present.
Creative Movement Facilitator and Dance Teacher
Alpha To Omega Learning Centre, Chennai
My work here includes one to one sessions for children in the school. I also handle the dance for the junior school including activities to creatively expand and explore their movement repertoire. These simultaneously focus on motor coordination and control, supports development and rhythm.
Trainer :Creative Movement Therapy Certification Course. (Bangalore)
Creative Movement Therapy Association of India
The role covers a one day training program learning theoretical underpinning and practical application of Dance Movement Psychotherapy with children with multiple difficulties.
This discussions of the panel were revisited by Dr.Richard Coaten in the ADMPUK quarterly” E-Motion, Winter 2017. The link to this is available here:https://admp.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/e-motion_Winter_17_Vol-XXVII-No-1-3.pdf
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Here is the gist of translation to the gujarati article,for those who are interested. "Devika Mehta, a dance movement therapist in Mumbai, talks about her experience of how dance therapy works with the elderly populations. She talks about the successful results she has seen in her practice and working with this population of the last 9 years. She has a masters from UK, in Dance Movement Psychotherapy, M.A. In Clinical Psychology and M. A. in Indian Folk Dance. She has worked with Parkinson’s disease, dementia, depression and stroke within the elderly population. According to her, the mind and the body are interconnected and changes in one affect the other. When movement reduces as one approaches an older age, mental concerns increase due to this reduction. Dance therapy is not just about performing or learning a certain dance form. It is important to understand the difference between dancing and dance therapy. Even if certain parts of your body are unable to move, by using breath, visualization and improvised movements one can reconnect and activate the mind and the body. There is no prescriptive moves for any difficulty. Clinical training and a client Centred approach offers the best results since each individual is different. Dancing is a part of our culture whether it is via festivals, seasons or weddings. There is no age bar to how and when one can move. She also was invited to America to share her work with the Parkinsons population. “
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