2018 Conference

The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the ADTA hosted the 2018 conference on Saturday April 14, 2018 at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Please see below for a recap.

** All proceeds of RMADTA events go to member scholarships and educational opportunities for our community

CONFERENCE THEME: Working With Complexity: Engaging with Conflict and Moving toward Social Change

INVITATION: For the 2018 local conference, we invited the collective to explore our relationship to and our work with complexity. Complexity shows up in many ways including but not limited to issues surrounding social justice. Complexity can relate to relational, familial, bodily processes, cultural, internal relationships and influences and more. Complexity is defined as the ‘composition of many interconnected parts’. When acknowledging the complexity that exists within the environment, relationships, and the individual, there is an opportunity to work with the entire system. When complexity is neglected, there is a risk of devaluing the whole and overlooking important aspects of the exploration. Proposals were encouraged to acknowledge complexity and engage working with complexity and may be inclusive of social justice as appropriate for the presenter.

The opening of our 2018 conference was a panel discussion offering different perspectives on what social justice work looks like in today’s dance/movement therapy field. The panel consisted of several dance/movement therapists who are currently working with a social justice lens in a variety of settings and populations.

8:30 am – 9:00 am Arrival

9:00 am – 11:00 am Panel Discussion on Social Justice and Dance/Movement Therapy

11:00 am – 11:15 am Break

11:15 am – 12:45 am Options for 3 presentations to join:

  • Sheila Klein : Social Justice Oriented DMT : Shifting the Clinical Paradigm toward Inclusivity & Equity

  • Vonie Stillson : Intro to Geek Culture

  • Jenny Epstein Kessem : Relational Mindfulness

12:45 pm – 2:00 pm Lunch

*12:45 pm – 1:00 pm Chapter Meeting

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Options for 2 presentations to join:

  • Melissa Walker : Beyond Sensate Focus: Erotic Mindfulness Practice to Deepen the Experience of Pleasure

  • Stina Hoberecht : Bringing Our Whole Selves Into Worship: Creative Possibilities for Body, Mind & Soul

3:00 pm – 3:15 pm Break

3:15 pm – 4:45 pm 90 Option for 2 presentations to join

  • Susan Schoon : Complexity Revealed Through Movement

  • Alicia Patterson : Caring For the Center : Holistic Approaches to Sustainable Pelvic Health

4:45pm – 5:00pm Conference Close

fullsizeoutput_e89Caring For The Center with Alicia Patterson
The pelvis is referred to as the center and power of the body by many cultures, traditions, and medicine systems. Caring For The The Center is a model developed by Alicia Patterson drawing on principles & technique from lenses on embodiment, Holistic Pelvic Care (TM), Menstrual-Cycle Awareness (TM), trauma-informed care, the organ system, Qi-gong & Chakra energy medicine, sacred sexuality, Earth-oriented psychology & Cosmology, and myofascial work. Caring For The Center can address all themes related to survival, safety, pelvic trauma, lineage and ancestry, fertility, sex, intimacy, womb loss, medical procedures, relationships, creativity, self-respect & boundaries, birth & death, & power. Learn about self-care tools, creative expression & manifestation in the physical body, & Spirit level process work that is grounded in the pelvis. Alicia’s intention is to provide education about this level of body-process and care that is accessible & available to all bodies across identities.

BIO: Alicia Patterson, MA, LPC, R-DMT is a psychotherapist, dance movement therapist & bodyworker.  She works with individuals & couples in psychotherapy and also practices bodywork separately in the realm of pelvic work and energy medicine. She co-teaches classes & workshops on sexuality, embodiment, & pelvic health. She has worked in the emergency & crisis mental health system, adults with complex mental illnesses, and people who have experienced sexual abuse.  In addition to her practice as a psychotherapist, she has served as Adjunct Faculty at Naropa University and supervises therapists and students. For more information, please visit Jenny’s website at alicianpatterson.com

fullsizeoutput_e7a.jpegRelational Mindfulness with Jenny Epstein Kessem
How can I serve others and still be embodied and at home within myself? Learn about attachment styles and explore how they show up in the body. Explore your own relational style and learn to care well for yourself in your relationships. Explore complexity through the lens of early childhood attachment and its impact on relationship.  Learn the four major attachment styles and how to recognize them in yourself and others, physiologically and psychologically.  Experience your own relational style and biases in real time in your body.  Come away knowing more about caring well for your embodied relational self.

BIO: Jenny Epstein Kessem, MA, LPC, BC-DMT, ACS is a psychotherapist and dance movement therapist with more than eighteen years of clinical experience. She works with couples and individuals in her private practice, with a particular focus on early childhood attachment and its influence on the body. She is trained in the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT II). She has worked with refugees and asylum-seekers, adults with complex mental illnesses, teens and adults with addictions, and also has worked as a community organizer for social change.  In addition to her practice as a psychotherapist, she has served as Adjunct Faculty at Naropa University and supervises therapists and students. For more information, please visit Jenny’s website at greatblueheron.org.

fullsizeoutput_e84Beyond Sensate Focus: Erotic Mindfulness Practice to Deepen the Experience of Pleasure with Melissa Walker
Erotic Mindfulness is a practice and quality of attention that supports clients to develop a relationship with their complex and unique experience of pleasure. While sensate focus invites non-judgmental, non-demand, and pleasure-oriented focus, erotic mindfulness deepens and expands this practice by incorporating somatic and contemplative elements.  This practice builds a bridge to heal the mind-body dichotomy that is heightened around the taboo of fully experiencing pleasure in a conscious and intentional way, thereby inviting congruence within the self. This presentation highlights a practice that can serve as a pathway to staying in relationship with the complexity of pleasure to find deep intimacy.

BIO: Melissa Walker, MA, LPC, R-DMT, director for the Embodied Relationships Counseling Center, is a Body-Centered Psychotherapist who specializes in sex and relationship therapy for couples and individuals. A graduate of Naropa University in 2009, Melissa weaves together her Masters level training with additional certification in Somatic Archaeology, and training in Couples Therapy, Sex Therapy,  Psychodrama, and Authentic Movement. Melissa is currently adjunct faculty at Naropa University where she teaches Professional Orienation & Ethics.

fullsizeoutput_e7cSocial Justice-Oriented Dance/Movement Therapy: Shifting the Clinical Paradigm towards Inclusivity and Equity with Sheila Klein
Social Justice-Oriented Dance/Movement Therapy (SJODMT) integrates a systemic perspective into DMT, articulating a new clinical paradigm. This workshop presents an overview of SJODMT theoretical foundations and clinical applications, guiding participants through critical and mindful engagement with power and privilege in both verbal and nonverbal realms through an intersectional lens. This workshop focuses on clinical application of SJODMT to access and utilize the resilience of the body and movement in context. SJODMT articulates tools to actively resist oppression and use the wisdom of DMT to promote equity and justice in our communities.  This innovative work is timely and essential in order to maintain ethical, integral, and relevant practice in the 21st Century.

BIO: Sheila Klein is a dance/movement therapist serving the Greater Denver Area.  A graduate of Naropa University’s Somatic Counseling Psychology, Dance/Movement Therapy program, Sheila articulated Social Justice-Oriented Dance/Movement Therapy (SJODMT), a clinical model integrating an intersectional lens into the theoretical paradigm of DMT, and has presented her work at the American Dance Therapy Conference.  Currently Sheila works as a Dance/Movement Therapist at Centennial Peaks Hospital, and sees clients in private practice, where she provides individual and group counseling, as well as social justice consultation for helping professionals and in other contexts with her business partner.


fullsizeoutput_e80Bringing Our Whole Selves Into Worship: Creative Possibilities for Body, Mind, and Soul  with Stina Hoberecht
Using a Dance/Movement Therapy lens to explore Christian worship, this presentation examines how an individual might engage their whole being – body, mind, and soul – in religious worship.  These themes can be adapted to many faith traditions to support individuals in deepening their spiritual identity through creative movement.  The presentation draws from historical and contemporary literature, as well as the experiences of participants in embodied worship workshops led by the presenter.  Learning objectives include: the importance of the client’s spiritual identity and integration in the therapeutic process, strategies for increasing creative, embodied expression of spiritual identity, & implications of cultural norms that limit creative expression in religious contexts.

BIO: Stina Hoberecht is a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist and Certified Yoga Instructor.  She works as the Dance/Movement Therapist at Denver Springs Hospital in the south Denver suburbs, and as a Community Based Therapist for adolescents at risk of being trafficked throughout Denver.  She began sharing dance as a worship art in her faith community in high school.  She is passionate about helping people find freedom to express themselves creatively while worshipping.  Stina offers the “Bringing Our Whole Selves Into Worship” workshop to churches, faith groups, and communities, and also teaches Devotional Dance in her church in Littleton.

fullsizeoutput_e86Complexity Revealed Through Movement with Susan Schoon
This presentation acknowledges the relevance of complexity embedded in human creative nature, conflict and resolution. Experiential movement studies will mirror the complexity of our nature, emotional life, and a sense of freedom that is an outpouring from complexity. Session structure will include small and large group dances. Theoretical compositions are derived from Joan Chodorow’s writing on Jung on Active Imagination. Participants will engage in activities that support the understanding of our innate creative ability to express an emotional life. Participant will engage in movement studies as catalyst for discussion on complexity and conflict.

BIO: Susan Schoon graduated from the University of Phoenix with a degree in Marriage Family and Child Therapy. She became a licensed professional counselor and a registered clinical supervisor through the Arizona’s Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. Susan studied at Naropa University, Loyola Marymount University, New York State University, and Kinnections to complete the alternative route requirements of the American Dance Therapy Association. She is currently employed by Arizona’s Children’s Association. Her current dance/movement therapy outpatient group focuses on young adults and children with autism.

IMG_0456Intro to Geek Culture with Voniè Stillson
The ADTA has recently addressed geek culture as an area of diversity that many dance therapist has no training and experience with. This presentation would serve as an intro to the world of Cosplay, Fandoms, & Geek Culture, including how they interconnect with the field of DMT and can be utilized to engage and reach out to clients who are a part of this imaginative world. As we cover information to address this area of diversity we will also include scholarly backing from pioneers of DMT, such as Whitehouse, Schoop, & Jung. Geek culture is a growing subculture that is often overlooked. Through the lens of fandom many learn to cope, navigate and change the world around them. Participants will learn the history of Cosplay, Fandoms and Geek Culture. Participants will discuss the connection of a client’s fandom and the client’s story. Participants will identify 2 ways dance therapist are uniquely suited to work with this population

BIO: Voniè received a MA in DMT & Counseling from Antioch, a BA in DMT from Naropa, 10+ years Certified Aquatic Rehabilitation Specialist, past recipient of ADTA’s Outstanding Achievement Award and former Southern Chapter President. She’s presented D/MT at mental health conferences, aquatics conferences, community-based workshops and pop culture conventions. A lifelong comic book reader and sci-fi fan, she advocates geek culture as positive for mental health, leads ADTA’s Multicultural and Diversity Affinity Group for geek culture and is Captain of Airship Iron Opal, an all ages social steampunk group, including her 10 & 8 year olds and husband of 12 years.


And a HUGE thank you to our student volunteers for the 2018 conference. Thank you for your presence, willingness, excitement, presence & participation.