Going Above and Beyond the Assignment: How a Dance Therapist’s Work Leads to Publication

While candidates in AUNE’s Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling program, Ty Tedmon-Jones, MA ’05 and Michelle Adams, completed a research assignment, which they so enjoyed that they couldn’t let it go. Following their 2005 AUNE graduations, they applied for and received a Marian Chace Foundation special projects grant to continue their work independently.

Recently they submitted the results of their study, Assessing Education and Credentialing in Dance/Movement Therapy, to the American Journal of Dance Therapy, the publication of the American Dance Therapy Association.

“From my own experience and the research I’ve done, education and credentialing are very important for dance therapists, said Ty. You have to be very proactive in pursuit of credentials so you can do what you want to do. That was a very important part of my AUNE training.”

A Licensed Professional Counselor, Ty, 30, is employed as a therapist by NHS Human Services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He provides individual and group services, including creative arts therapy, to adult residential patients with a variety of mental illnesses.

When Degrees in Performance and Art are Not Enough

Originally he studied to become a professional performer at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Then, in his junior year, he learned about creative arts therapy. In 2002, after earning a BA in Theatre and Dance and a BA in Art, he searched for a graduate school to prepare for a career as a dance therapist. For help, he turned to the American Dance Therapy Association, and discovered AUNE.

“ADTA is the only organization in the country to oversee standard practices in dance therapy,” he said. “AUNE is one of few schools approved by ADTA. It was a great fit for me. A large component of the program is based in counseling, and AUNE is one of the very first to focus on counseling psychology and licensure.”

Ty was accepted into AUNE’s Master program with no prior background in psychology.
“I was very naive about the process of becoming a therapist,” he said. “I came to the program without any mental health experience. It’s a strong program with great professors and really enjoyable courses. I had great experiences in clinical training with two internships and two practicums.”

His final internship was with CUPS (Children’s Upstream Program), a program of Health Care and Rehabilitation Services in Springfield, Vermont. Immediately after graduation, he was offered fulltime employment by the organization where, as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, he evaluated and provided individual and family counseling to children age birth to six.

In 2007, for personal reasons, he relocated to Pittsburgh where he first worked as a creative and expressive arts therapist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Western Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic. Last fall he accepted his present position with NHS Human Services.

Credentials and Education Open Doors

A licensed professional both in Vermont and Pennsylvania, Ty is also a registered dance therapist (R-DMT) as well as a member of the American Dance Therapy Association. Beyond that, he’s been a guest lecturer at the Department of Counseling Psychology at AUNE and has helped facilitate workshops for ADTA conferences. He now eagerly anticipates publication of his research.

“It’s opened up a lot of doors for me,” he said. “I’m now serving on two ADTA committees, a brand new ad hoc committee on diversity and a subcommittee for research. They’re great things to be involved with at this time. It’s a new era in dance therapy.”

His AUNE training prepared him well for career success.

“My AUNE education absolutely paid off, he said. I’ve been very fortunate to become licensed. That was a very important part of my decision to choose AUNE. It’s been an important part of my career development, and AUNE paved the way.”

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