2016 Conference

The 2016 Conference
April 8 – 9 , 2016

The Rhythm of Resilience How Dance Movement Therapy Supports the Development and Sustainability of Resilience


— All proceeds go to member scholarships and educational opportunities for our community

— A big thank you to all of the presenters, attendees, and supporters locally and from afar for the 2016 conference. This was a big success and we hope to keep the momentum building with more resources, networking, learning, and pure enjoyment for us all. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the ADTA looks forward to providing more opportunities for community & training for therapists of all backgrounds, including DMT’s! We appreciate your support and interest.

Thank you to our 2016 Keynote Speaker! 

We were so honored to host Amber Elizabeth Gray, MPH, MA, BC-DMT, LPCC, NCC as our Keynote Speaker for the 2016 Conference!

amberAmber has spent much of the last 17 years dancing and working in Haiti. Formerly co-director of The Planetary Dance Ensemble, she began to study Haitian dance in 1991. Her passion for Haitian dance led her to Dance Movement Therapy. Her professional journey includes public health, somatic psychology, political science, dance movement therapy, deep tissue bodywork, cranial-sacral therapy, aromatherapy, shiatsu, hatha yoga, Continuum Movement and a life long commitment to human rights and social change. Amber is recognized as a pioneer in movement therapies and trauma, and she received the 2010 ADTA Outstanding Achievement Award for her global dance therapy work with survivors of displacement, violence, war, torture  and natural disasters.

Our Vice-President, Melisa Sanzone, interviewed Amber about how she defines resilience and how it shows up in her work around the globe. Read our interview with Amber Gray here.


Friday April 8th (6-8 pm):  
Welcome, Introductions, Keynote Speaker, Networking
Saturday April 9th (8 am – 6 pm, note there are two presentations during most time slots):
Morning Session:

8 am : Registration & Check In
8:30 am : Ryan Kennedy: Learning, Defense, and Developing Mastery: How Understanding and Working with KMP Precursors of Effort Can Support Client Resilience
10:05 am : Supervision Panel
10:05 am : Karen Jensen & Deb Silver: Embodied Explorations of Consent
11:45 am : Melissa Walker: Sexual Schemas in Motion: Dance Movement Sex Therapy for Erotic Fullness
11:45 am : Zina Mercil: Using the Five Fundamental Actions to support meaning-making and resiliency in clients with life-altering medical setbacks
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Lunch is provided for you!

Afternoon Session:
2 pm
: Annie Brook (canceled due to logistics)
2 pm : Vonie Stillson: Aquatic D/MT
3:10 pm : Karen Jensen: Honoring the Rise & Fall of Sexual Arousal & Pleasure
3:10 pm : Susan Schoon: Rhythm, Movement, and Shared Resilience
4:45 pm : Alicia Patterson: Eros + The Body: A Somatic Based Experiential Workshop for working with Individuals and / or Couples on Sexual & Relational Resiliency
4:45 pm : Damian Leuthold: Original Trauma: Why does earliest experience matter now?

2016_04_09_ADTA_Conference_03Ryan Kennedy
Title: Learning, Defense, and Developing Mastery: How Understanding and Working with KMP Precursors of Effort Can Support Client Resilience

Description: The Kestenberg Movement Profile introduced the idea of Precursors of Effort to Laban’s Effort category as a way to account for the ways in which children and adults express themselves when they are learning new things or feeling threatened. In both instances, there is a tendency to depart from the typical movement signature that one uses when there is a sense of mastery or competence available in a given situation. Learning to recognize Precursors of Effort and subsequently support their development into clear Effort expressions is a powerful tool for increasing competence and internalizing mastery, both of which support resilience. Participants in this presentation will learn/review the Four Effort Factors from Laban’s system of movement analysis including the Eight Effort Elements. They will then identify Effort Elements that feel comfortable or representative of their own movement signatures. Through an experiential activity, they are invited explore how those preferred Effort Elements shift under stress, which supports an entrée into the six Precursors of Effort from the Kestenberg Movement Profile. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of how to support the transformation of Precursors of Effort into clear Effort expression using DMT interventions designed to enhance a sense of competence and mastery and thereby support an increase in resilience against future  stress and trauma.

Annie Brook
Title: Get Satisfied and Learn to Play! Enjoy your practice, learn to improvise, and help clients orient to well-being, not trauma/drama
Description: Play and satisfaction are motivators for change. Often early trauma interrupts the instinctual play response, and curiosity that supports learning. Learn the resilience of play, and how to find satisfaction using basic movement principles that you can apply with your clients.

Susan Schoon, MC/MFTC, LAC, R-DMT
Title: Rhythm, Movement, and Shared Resilience
Description: This presentation will engage participants in reproducible experientials that support development, recovery and sustainability of resilience. Participants will be able to identify resilience as an innate rhythm through creative arts expression. Working from individual, dyads to whole group configurations, we will explore change agent that influence static and dynamic patterns of movement that in turn influence resilience.



Alicia Patterson, MA, R-DMT
Title: Eros + The Body: A Somatic Based Experiential Workshop for working with Individuals and / or Couples on Sexual & Relational Resiliency
Description: This presentation is based on self-exploration and the implementation of Somatic interventions. Themes surrounding sexuality, sensuality, intimacy & bonding will be investigated through tools including a psycho-educational model unpacking the 4 quadrants of touch, a breath & pelvic floor meditation, a simple but profound “game” to introduce to clients, and areas for self-inquiry for therapists to reflect on their own lives with the dynamics of touch & relationship.

Vonie Stillson, MA, BC-DMT
Title: Aquatic D/MT
Description: Applying dance/movement therapy techniques to the aquatic environment opens a new variety of possibilities and precautions for holistic treatment. Participants will understand the benefits of putting DMT in the pool. Participants will be able to identify 3 precautions specific to putting DMT in the pool. Participants will be able to identify 3 new techniques applicable for DMT in the pool.

12973052_903561314378_68460651709064115_oMelissa Walker, MA, LPC, R-DMT
Title: Sexual Schemas in Motion: Dance Movement Sex Therapy for Erotic Fullness
Description: Sexual schemas are erotic blueprints constructed through the interaction of our psychosexual development and unique experiences related to arousal, creating intricate patterns of movement and sensation in the body. This presentation is an interactive experience of the Dance Movement Sex Therapy model. This model integrates the somatic and movement-based tools of Dance Movement Therapy with Sex Therapy to meet the behaviors and beliefs prohibiting healthy expression in order to create spaces for creativity and resilience and, ultimately, erotic fullness. Participants will leave the session with an ability to demonstrate an understanding of the connection between developmental rhythms and sexual expression and an understanding of how a sexual schema can be a resource and support adaptability.

2016_04_09_ADTA_Conference_16Karen Jensen, MA, R-DMT & Deb Silver MA, R-DMT
Title: Embodied Explorations of Consent
Description: Our relationship to consent impacts our everyday lives. Through the use of Dance/Movement Therapy modalities, mindfulness practices, and discussion, participants will have the opportunity to get curious about their relationship to consent with themselves, others, and the environment. We will define and explore embodied consent in order for participants to better understand, integrate, and apply these concepts into both their personal and professional lives. Through exploring embodied consent, we developa deeper capacity to be in our bodies in relationship to our no’s, yes’s and maybe’s. Themes of trust, boundaries, discomfort, safety, impulses, assumptions, choice, and power will be investigated.

2016_04_09_ADTA_Conference_28Zina Mercil, LPCC, R-DMT, RSMT, RYT200
Title: Using the Five Fundamental Actions to support meaning-making and resiliency in clients with life-altering medical setbacks
Description: Life-altering medical setbacks have the potential to lead to greater integration, resiliency, and post-traumatic growth. At a time of potentially great disintegration through physical challenges, dance/movement therapists have a unique opportunity to support clients towards resiliency by guiding integration of, and with, the body. The presentation will offer an overview of the challenges and post-truamatic growth potentials of working with a client who has experienced a life-altering medical setback through a Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) lens. The focus will be on Bainbridge-Cohen’s Five Fundamental Actions as an intervention for phases of diagnosis, illness, integration, and post-traumatic growth process, along with normalizing common client experiences. Participants will explore and embody the Five Fundamental Actions as an intervention that can be used at any stage of treatment.

Karen Jensen, MA, R-DMT
Title: Honoring the Rise & Fall of Sexual Arousal & Pleasure
Description: Through the use of sex education, dance/movement therapy experientials, and discussion, this presentation focuses on aspects of sexual wellbeing connected to honoring both the rise and fall of sexual arousal and pleasure. By the end of the session, participants will be able to: define sexual arousal and sexual pleasure, describe the Dual Control Model and it’s relationship to sexual arousal and pleasure, identify at least two aspects of sexual wellbeing for themselves, and gain at least two specific tools to support themselves and/or clients through the rise and the fall of sexual arousal and pleasure.

Damian Leuthold
Title: Original Trauma (OT): Why does earliest experience matter now?
OT:  The the origins of our current maladapted behaviors, shrouded in our unconscious memory, are often established in our earliest times.  Given this how do we change how we act?  In this course we will explore ways of reaching into our deep unconscious memory to remap no longer useful survival strategies.
VVV: Do you want to get out of your head and in to a more integrated sensing and feeling place?  In this course you will gain a better understanding of the characteristics of the thinking brain and what activates it.  You will explore ways of using more of your brain and body resources so that the thinking brain can rest.



  12594024_1106249352727463_3103190369030691975_oJilba Wallace, MA, LPC, BC-DMT. I am a graduate from the Naropa Dance/Movement Therapy Program (1992) after being a choreographer in Australia. In my own private practice (LifeMoves Counseling Services) I use Body and Movement based interventions for the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, mood swings and chronic pain. I also work with other modalities
such as the creative arts, Mindfulness, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Stress Reduction techniques and Hypnosis. My approach is to guide clients to develop practical coping skills for everyday use and I tend to emphasize a solution based format. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado ( CO 1242). My preferred population is adults over the age of 16, and couples. I work in the same offices as my colleagues who are direct primary care doctors, and receive about a third of my client referrals from them.I am on most large insurance company provider lists and have a sliding scale for students and seniors. I provide onsite mentoring and supervision towards licensure. I have been working with Naropa Students for over 25 years. Visit Jilba’s website for more information: http://www.lifemovescounseling.com

12552964_10153392759032194_2847911598626200298_nMelanie Smithson, MA, LPC, BC-DMT
Melanie Smithson is the award-winning author of Stress Free in 30 Seconds: A Slightly Irreverent Approach to Navigating Life’s Challenges and the e-book, Reclaiming an Adult Relationship to Play. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Dance Movement Therapist, Certified Sedona Method Coach and Certified Life Between Lives Hypnotherapist. She co-owns Smithson Clinic, Inc. with her husband, Gail, in Lakewood CO, where they live with their superme playmate, the four-legged Beatrice. Melanie offers workshops and trainings throughout the world. To learn more, visit http://www.melanismithson.com.

picVonie Stillson, MA, BC-DMT
Vonie received an MA in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling from Antioch and a BA in Dance Therapy from Naropa, with 25 years experience with individuals with MI/IDD and 10 years as a Certified Aquatic Rehabilitation Specialist. She received ADTA’s 2014 Outstanding Achievement award for her work creating the Southern Chapter and is their 1st president. She’s presented D/MT at mental health conferences, community-based workshops and pop culture conventions. Voniè is also Captain of Airship Iron Opal, an all ages social steampunk group, including her 6 & 8 year old and husband of 11 years.  Find Vonie on LinkedIn here.

headshotJenny Epstein Kessem, MA, LPC, BC-DMT
Jenny practices mindfulness-based and body-centered psychotherapy.  She is a licensed psychotherapist and Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist in private practice.  Jenny is passionate about embracing paradox, so that many realities, even conflicting realities, can be true at once.  She has served as Adjunct Faculty in all three of Naropa University’s Graduate Psychology programs, and has served as a Clinical Supervisor at Access Counseling.  She currently offers private supervision. You can find her website at www.greatblueheron.org.