Jessica Houghton is a Dance Movement Therapist. She completed her Master of Arts in Dance Movement Psychotherapy with Distinction from the University of Roehampton (London), where she researched the potential benefits of DMT for survivors of sexual trauma. She is also a professional member of the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association and the Dance Movement Therapy Association of Canada, and is in the process of applying to the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. She abides by the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association.
Previous to her studies in the UK, Jessica graduated from York University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours Dance program with a specialization in performance and choreography. Jessica firmly believes in the transformative power of dance and movement. Having spent over twenty years of her life studying, performing, and teaching dance, she has experienced on a deep level the immense benefits that dance can have on a person’s physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. She is committed to facilitating this therapeutic dance experience for others and offering her clients a supportive space where they can feel free to explore the richness of their internal world through embodied creative movement.
Jessica’s past experience in DMT includes working within adult mental health in both hospital settings (acute and psychiatric intensive care units) and community settings (enduring mental health difficulties). She also has experience working therapeutically with children in elementary schools and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.
Currently Jessica runs a DMT service out of Pegasus Studios in Toronto’s east end for students and parents in the community, runs DMT groups for seniors through the Afghan Women’s Organization, and offers workshops in dance education and DMT for the the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
Jessica feels it is important to develop a trusting therapeutic relationship where the client and therapist are equally invested in the process and work together to develop the client’s inner resources and creative coping strategies. Her person-centred therapeutic approach offers a safe space for the client to explore their embodied experiences and embark on their journey towards awareness and self-discovery. She draws on theories from developmental, feminist, somatic and psychodynamic psychotherapies, as well as research from neuroscience and trauma theory, and uses movement analysis techniques such as Laban Movement Analysis and the Kestenberg Movement Profile.
Alongside her DMT work, Jessica is an active member of the Toronto dance community through performing, teaching, and taking classes. She has studied many physical practices alongside dance, including yoga, contact improvisation, martial arts, and Feldenkrais technique. Her work as a dance artist continues to influence her therapeutic work, just as her work in DMT has offered new depth into her explorations as an artist.