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Why Choose Dance Therapy as a Somatic Therapy?

Why Choose Dance Therapy as a Somatic Therapy?

Somatic Therapy San Francisco

 You have been searching for a somatic therapist in the bay area and finally have settled on dance therapy as a modality. Now, you may have questions about how dance therapy works as a somatic therapy. That’s totally normal! Many people are not familiar with dance therapy or its benefits. The following answers to FAQs may help you understand more about somatic therapy in San Francisco and dance therapy specifically.

FAQs About Dance Therapy

1)    What does dance therapy in California offer that traditional talk therapy doesn’t?

Talk therapy, while very useful for some clients, sometimes does not change how they feel. Talk therapy focuses on changing how we think with the idea being that changing our thoughts will trickle down to change emotions and feelings. Dance therapy uses the body, which is where we learn to recognize emotions and feelings, to start to change how we feel. Using the body is a more direct way of interacting with emotions and feelings. That is not to say that there is no verbal processing in a dance therapy session: movement is the way we access feelings but after clients move there is a need to process verbally what just happened in movement. Also, dance therapy uses movement to provide interventions which is important because if you change the way you move, you change how you feel.

2)    Is dance therapy the same as somatic therapy?

Somatic therapy is a general term that is ascribed to any therapy that uses the body. There are many different times of somatic therapies, with different types of training. Dance therapy (or therapists certified by the American Dance Therapy Association) require a master’s degree (or equivalent training) as well as over 3,000 hours being supervised by a board-certified dance therapist. Each somatic therapy has different requirements so if you are choosing a therapist, be sure to ask about their training.

3)    How is dance therapy different from a dance class?

Dance therapists are trained to evaluate movement from a psychological perspective e.g. how you are moving shows what you are feeling as well as how you cope with the world. Dance therapists also learn movement interventions that help with different symptoms and other aspects of mental health.  We focus on how a movement feels, the emotions that different movements represent or bring up, and how to deal with those emotions. In a dance class, the instructor teaches students specific movements that comprise dance technique (technique will be different depending on what type of dance you study). The focus of a class is more about how a movement looks than how it feels or the emotions it brings up. Dance class does often bring up feelings (often good ones!) but there is no room to process the feelings that arise. 

4)    What Is the difference between a somatic coach and a board-certified dance therapist

A somatic coach may or may not have intensive or even specific training. Coaching in general has less legal regulations and does not guarantee privacy. Board certified dance therapists have ethical and legal obligations to provide confidentiality to clients. As always, if you are employing someone who is not a board-certified dance therapist or licensed clinician, make sure to ask about privacy and whether your personal information will be shared. 

5)    Can I only do dance therapy in person or can I do dance therapy sessions online?

 Dance therapy can be done either in a studio or online. Some people prefer online since they can move in the comfort of their own home while others prefer the studio since they like the freedom to move and interact with their therapist. Both options are effective!

If you have any questions about dance therapy in California or somatic therapy, please feel free to reach out to me at  You can also schedule a free 15 minute consultation here to find out if dance therapy is right for you.