Hello! I’m Jessica Houghton, a Registered Psychotherapist, Dance Movement Psychotherapist, educator, dance artist, and the current president of the Dance Movement Therapy Association of Canada. I completed my Master of Arts in Dance Movement Psychotherapy in the UK, where I researched the potential benefits of DMT for survivors of sexual trauma, and worked in adult and childhood mental health in hospital, community and school settings. I recently completed a training in Internal Family Systems, which I have been integrating into my therapy practice.
I am a firm believer in the transformative power of dance and movement. Having spent over twenty years of my life studying, performing, and teaching dance, I have experienced on a deep level the immense benefits that dance can have on a person’s physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. I am committed to facilitating this therapeutic dance experience for others and offering my clients a supportive space where they can feel free to explore the richness of their internal world through embodied creative movement.
Alongside my DMP work, I am an active member of the Toronto dance community through performing, teaching, and taking classes, and an avid gardener. I have studied many physical practices alongside dance, including contact improvisation, yoga, martial arts, and Feldenkrais technique. My work as a dance artist continues to influence my therapeutic work, just as my work in DMP has offered new depth into my explorations as an artist.
Developing a trusting therapeutic relationship is at the heart of how I practice, and I tailor my approach to meet the needs of my clients. We will work together to find a way of working that feels safe, creative, and effective, and incorporate the elements Dance Movement Psychotherapy and Internal Family Systems that best suit you. Using a body and movement based approach helps me respond to all of the layers of communication that take place in a session – not just what’s being said verbally.
As a Dance Movement Psychotherapist, I believe in the interconnection between the body, mind, and emotions, and that the three constantly influence each other. Because of this connection, any changes that happen in your movement vocabulary or physical experience are also reflected in changes in emotional or psychological states, and vice versa. In our sessions, we make use of this connection through bringing awareness to existing patterns, and exploring how we can shift the patterns that may be hindering your growth.
I also am supported by theories from developmental, feminist, somatic, existential, and psychodynamic psychotherapies, as well as research from neuroscience and trauma theory, and use movement analysis techniques such as Laban Movement Analysis and the Kestenberg Movement Profile.
You can learn more about Dance Movement Psychotherapy here.
My past experience in DMP includes working within adult mental health in both hospital settings (acute and psychiatric intensive care units) and community settings (enduring mental health difficulties), and working with a senior immigrant population. I also have experience working therapeutically with children in elementary schools and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities and have run workshops on DMT and dance education for the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
Currently I run a DMP service out of Toronto Yoga Co in Toronto’s east end and run groups and workshops across the city.
I am a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and a professional member of the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association and the Dance Movement Therapy Association of Canada. I abide by the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association.
Alongside my professional memberships, I am the President of the Dance Movement Therapy Association of Canada, co-founder of Dance Movement Therapy Ontario and a member of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee for the REAson D’etre Dance Productions Wednesday Contact Improvisation Jam.
Please get in touch if you’d like to meet for a free consultation appointment, or if you’re curious about my approach and want to find out more, check out my blog where I explore topics related to dance and DMT, as well as my own personal journey to becoming a therapist.