Maria Bowen DMT ’18

Alum Credits Time at Antioch for Focusing Career on Helping Children Through Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT)

Maria Bowen, MA, R-DMT (‘18), always knew that she wanted to help others through dance, especially the victims of trauma, but it was during her training at Antioch that she finally realized who she really wanted to help: children and mothers. It just so happened that Bowen also gave birth to her son during her time at Antioch. Coincidence? Bowen embraces it all: “I became pregnant during the summer between my first and second year at Antioch. A lot of people in my family were concerned that this would mean the end of academic pursuits. However, due to the amazing support of my faculty, I was able to redesign my program, be the mom I wanted to be to my son, and finish my degree. Even when doing both seemed impossible, I had the support of Antioch and that made it all doable.”

Bowen came to Antioch persistent and passionate, but again she gives credit to her AU education for fueling that fire and crystalizing her vision: “My passion was definitely amplified during my time at Antioch. I entered my program knowing that I wanted to help people but had little skills for how to do so. With each internship, with each interaction with a client, I became clearer and clearer that this was the work that I was put on this Earth to do.”

Bowen highlights the rigors of her practicum work and how it challenged her to be better in all aspects of her life: “In the DMT program, we begin our practicum on week 2 or 3 of our first year. I found this to be invaluable. Everything I was learning in my classes I was able to apply immediately in my practicum, in an environment that was supportive and designed to ease us into leadership roles, as we were ready.”  The workload was intense, explained Bowen, but incredibly rewarding: “We have close to 60 hours of practica year 1, a minimum of 450 hours year 2, and a minimum of 700 hours year 3. That’s a lot of client contact! I appreciated that at Antioch everything we learned was filtered through two lenses – the first: what do I think about this? How do I relate to this? Does this make sense for me as a counselor? The second lens being: how do I apply this to my work with my clients. I am an independent and very practical person, so this approach worked very well for me. I never felt that I was being molded into some ideal of a counselor, but rather given the information and support I needed to become the best and truest to myself counselor that I can become. And I really believe that that is what happened during my four and a half years at Antioch. Not only did I become a truer version of myself as a counselor, but I also became a truer version of myself as a person. I know, without a doubt, that I am a much better mother because of my training at Antioch.”

Maria Bowen

High praise indeed, but Bowen understood that Antioch was only the beginning and that the world of dance/movement therapy was still fledgling, there was still much ground that needed paving. “The dance/movement therapy community is still relatively small. By joining this particular group of practitioners, I feel like I have joined a family. It’s incredible to read peer-reviewed articles that are the leading edge of research then sit down and talk with the author because they are one of your professors or are speaking at an industry conference. I think that is more rare in other fields.” She credits the evolution in her internships for her present progress and hopes for the future: “My second-year internship was at The Putney School. And it was through that internship that I became connected to The Grammar School where I did my third-year internship. My third-year internship supervisor, Claire LeMessurier, has agreed to continue to supervise me as I pursue licensure and my BC-DMT certification. She and I are also exploring the possibility of creating a project together that would bring arts therapists in the area together under one umbrella.”

And what does she wish someone might have told her when she was just getting started in the field? “Dance/movement therapy is an amazing field with so much potential to help so many people. The best part is that you get to make it your own. This field requires flexibility (not just physically!), creativity, and trust in yourself. You do not have to be a professional dancer to be an effective dance/movement therapist. You just need to love to move, know that your body contains a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and information, and have a desire to help people. Becoming a DMT requires a lot of trust in the process. The path can feel murky at times, but it is all worth it.“

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