Jody Wager, MS, BC-DMT, is The Director of the Expressive Therapy Department and a senior dance therapist at Dominion Hospital, and currently serves as president of the American Dance Therapy Association. For the 10th straight year, Jody is headlining the opening of the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium. On Thursday March 23, 2017, she along with Daniel Levin facilitated an opening session titled: The Doorway to Engagement: Freeing the Body and Awakening the Mind.
Attendees were encouraged to prime their body and their mind for the Symposium experience by taking part in an opportunity to let go of the ordinary stresses, pressures, and responsibilities often carried with us. This special opening event was designed for first-time attendees and Symposium veterans alike to gather and prepare for the adventure to come. Using physical movement, music, and play, Jody and Daniel led a kick off devoted to helping attendees open themselves to new connections, insights, and inspirations. They offered attendees a chance to engage their mind and body in a fun and creative atmosphere, while bringing into focus their vision for what they wished to learn and experience in the days to come.
This year, the Symposium was titled: The Courage to Connect: Shaping our Future in an Age of Uncertainty. For 40 years, the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium has been psychotherapy’s largest and most celebrated annual meeting. With 150 workshops, a faculty of over 100 of the field’s leading contributors, and over 3,500 of its most creative and inquiring practitioners, the Symposium is the place therapists go to catch up on the latest advances in the field. In addition to opening night, Jody also led a session at the Symposium’s end to consolidate the attendee’s learnings through structured movement improvisation, free writing, and embodied self-awareness. In this session, attendees explored an integrative mind-body approach to embody their learnings from the Symposium, dance/movement therapy skills to help attendees be more present, grounded, and self-aware while working with clients, and the role of witnessing oneself and others through the Authentic Movement model of dance/movement therapy.
With a rich Expressive Therapy Department under Jody’s leadership, Dominion Hospital stands as one of relatively few facilities in the United States to offer multiple expressive therapies to Adults, Adolescents and Children with mental health disorders and/or the experience of trauma. Dominion leads the Northern Virginia and metropolitan Washington, D.C., region by providing art therapy, dance/movement therapy, music therapy, therapeutic recreation, and therapeutic yoga services. When feelings can’t be put into words, Jody and her staff offer a variety of alternative ways to communicate the impact of events and experiences, as well as opportunities to assist in growth and healing by learning new coping skills through the creative arts.