Hello! I’m Jessica Houghton, a Dance Movement Therapist, educator, and dance artist. I completed my Master of Arts in Dance Movement Psychotherapy with Distinction from the University of Roehampton (London), where I researched the potential benefits of DMT for survivors of sexual trauma. I am a professional member of the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association and the Dance Movement Therapy Association of Canada, and am also in the process of applying to the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. I abide by the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association.
Before studying in the UK, I graduated from York University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours Dance program with a specialization in performance and choreography. 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.
My 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), 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. Currently I run a DMT service out of Pegasus Studios in Toronto’s east end and offer workshops in dance education and DMT for the the Toronto Catholic District School Board and general public.
In my approach to therapy work, I feel 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. My person-centred approach offers a safe space for clients to explore their embodied experiences and embark on their journey towards awareness and self-discovery. I draw on theories from developmental, feminist, somatic 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.
Alongside my DMT work, I am also an active member of the Toronto dance community through performing, teaching, and taking classes. I have studied many physical practices alongside dance, including yoga, contact improvisation, martial arts, and Feldenkrais technique. My work as a dance artist continues to influence my therapeutic work, just as my work in DMT has offered new depth into my explorations as an artist.
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.