To our readers,
Since we last wrote to you prior to publication of our last issue, our hearts have broken many times over. Interestingly, many of us became dance/movement therapists because the words were never enough or quite right and the unsaid, movement, nonverbal communication—the dance—were always where the accurate expression was felt. Yet, here we are—using words to write about what seems unworthy of words.
George Floyd was murdered just before the June 2020 issue was published. This was followed by demonstrations, riots, protests, art exhibits and gut wrenching pain in the US and around the world. It didn’t stop. Other Black and African American humans continued to be killed by police and abused by dehumanizing systems founded on White supremacy—and, to be clear, we recognize that this is not something new. Our social response, though, started to feel excruciatingly repetitive of the history of civil rights and yet powerfully new at the same time. Social justice and anti-racism movements arose into mainstream through news, social media and scholarly creation. Is it enough? No. Are we hopeful for lasting and meaningful shifts? Yes. Yet, we take on that perspective from our positions of privilege. What are your perspectives? What have you learned from your experiences, your work, your clients, your supervisees or your students? What do you want readers to know or understand? How have your experiences influenced your identity or work as a dance/movement therapist? How has your experience as a dance/movement therapist influenced your experiences and perspectives?
In just 6 short months since our last Editors’ Note, the pandemic has not released us. It is raging on stronger than ever. More people are infected, dying and grieving. More people are without jobs, more children learning in various home environments or hugely adapted school environments, and more communities are struggling to support one another. More people are without food and basic necessities. Eviction moratoriums vary city by city or county by county. The distinct lack of US national leadership has resulted in dramatically different responses in various parts of the country—just as the response around the world has varied. We continue to be curious about your experiences with the many effects of the pandemic for you, your clients, your supervisees and your students. We remain particularly curious about technology interfaces in clinical practice, supervision and education as well as the limits and potential of whole person dimensionality of movement when using video/remote/technology based platforms to deliver therapy, supervision and learning. Please consider writing and submitting these experiences to AJDT.
More recently, the US presidential election has intensified feelings of fear, worries, relief, joy, resentments and many others. Some families and friends have encountered unbreachable divides. We have heard so many times, “How could this election be so close that it wasn’t immediately determined?” What does that say about our society? Is there hope for justice? Larger concerns about climate change rose to the forefront. Social justice and racism, religious freedom and separation of church and state, womens’ rights and abortion rights and many others arose again. Economic concerns continue to sideline the human rights dialogues. Tremendous increases in hate crimes targeting the Jewish community are again in the headlines. Yet, there is much to be celebrated! Women in leadership. Newly elected people of color in government. LGBTQ identifying people in elected positions. People with various disabilities elected, re-elected and leading. Communities working together to care for one another—perhaps, a new way forward rather than a return to the old.
We take the time to briefly discuss each of these major impacts on the lives of dance/movement therapists as well as our clients, supervisees and students because they are inter-related. The inter-relatedness results in significantly greater disparity for some people—many of those are the people we work with and, as well, our own families and social networks. We cannot pretend that our own professional community has not been—and is not—impacted by these issues. Certainly, we all hold some level of privilege (education, at most common) but there is a need to recognize the diversity of privilege in our dance/movement therapy community. How does this impact you? Your clients? Your students? Your supervisees? Your experience as a dance/movement therapist?
This issue of the American Journal of Dance Therapy includes a variety of articles. First, Karolina Bryl and Sherry Goodill’s manualized treatment protocol for schizophrenia provides a grounded guide in using dance/movement therapy for reducing negative symptoms and improving psychosocial functioning. This manuscript was mistakenly not included in the June 2020 issue after being published online in the Fall of 2019. We sincerely apologize for this error to Karolina and Sherry. Other original manuscripts describe experiences, dance/movement therapy interventions, and integrative theories that provide frameworks for professional development, clinical intervention and future research. We think you will enjoy reading them and will find relevance to your work.
Nana Koch’s Marian Chace Foundation Lecture from the 2019 conference as well as Elissa White’s introduction are included in this issue. Nana’s explorations about the growth, shrinkage or stasis of discipline of dance/movement therapy are, arguably, more important now than ever as our world is impacted by various world events.
The collaborative book review, written by members of the ADTA Native American Affinity Group, of Renee Linklater’s Decolonizing Trauma Work: Indigenous Stories and Strategies not only offers a source of specific actions for decolonizing trauma work but also provides an inroad to decolonizing the discipline of dance/movement therapy. The reviewers demonstrated some of the strategies in the ways that they introduced themselves and wrote the review. We are quite excited about the possibilities of future book reviews and how these strategies may be further embraced within the contributions of the journal.
We hope you enjoy the issue and look forward to receiving your manuscripts.
Laura and Susan
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The author declares that they have no conflict of interest.
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Downey, L., Kierr, S. Editors’ Note. Am J Dance Ther 42, 147–149 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10465-020-09342-7