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How do I start combining two majors I love into something beneficial for the public?

I am currently double majoring in dance and psychology at Cal State Fullerton. Later on I want to combine the two to become a child psychologist who incorporates dance into the therapy of children. I don't know where to start and I am hopeful someone will give me some ideas. Thank you :)
#questionsaboutlife #career-goals #dance #psychology #therapy

Thank you comment icon After you complete your undergraduate degree, you will have to apply for an advanced degree in either counseling psychology, marriage and family therapy, art therapy, or social work (just to name a few). When you are looking for graduate schools, you may want to ask about programs that incorporate the arts into their graduate education. Most often, you will need an advanced degree to practice independently with children - this is for ethics and insurance (how you or your agency is paid). My advice would be to look for internships during the undergraduate years that will allow you to work with children. Jeffrey Sierra
Thank you comment icon comment 2/2: When you are meeting with your internship supervisor, you can ask them how you can introduce your passion of dance into the work you are doing. Your campus' career services center, academic or faculty advisors can help you locate an internship in your community. Jeffrey Sierra

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Sara’s Answer

I love that you double majored in something that you seem to be really passionate about! I recommend looking into Dance Movement Therapy :) this type of therapy that uses dance can help the child achieve their cognitive, emotional, social, and physical integration!
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Ken’s Answer

Congratulations on being interested in finding the right career to follow.. It takes a special person to enter into a specific career field and meet the demands which that career area presents. The first step is to get to know yourself to see if you share the personality traits which make one successful in that area. The next step is doing networking to meet and talk to and possibly shadow people doing what you might think that you want to do to see if this is something that you really want to do, as a career area could look much different on the inside than it looks from the outside.  When I was doing college recruiting, I encountered too many students, who skipped these important steps, and ended up in a career/job for which they were ill suited.

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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Virginia’s Answer

Might want to look into programs like YMCA or YWCA that offer after school or summer programs. See if they have a dance program and see if they’d be open to a pitch of using dance as an outlet for children during non-school hours!
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Peyton’s Answer

Hi Leah!

I think your idea of combining your love of dance and psychology into a way to work with therapeutically with children is a really creative idea. Dance involves movement, which is a great way to get a child interested in what you have to say to them, or to relay the idea/suggestion/insight you have, to them. Children love to move. I think any child who came to you for "counseling" and found out that they would be using dance to express their emotions, would find that so intriguing!
To work towards your goal, I would ask you to think about what in 'dance' and what in 'psychology' do you most like, or identify with. I would ask you to picture your perfect day at work, a day when you worked with a student and you were able to use dance as a way to 'reach' the student, and help them express their feelings or if you knew what the issue was, as away in which they could use dance to help them work through their feelings about their issue. With and when you have those ideas in mind, I would then say, lets you and I work on practical ways to incorporate your two different "majors" or talent areas into what a real Psychological/Dance therapy session would look like.
From there, depending on your school, I would next assist you in finding the classes that best help you merge your two goal areas (dance and psychology) in a way that helps you learn the skills you would need to be a psychologist who uses dance to work with their clients. Again, I am very impressed with your idea, and I think you can really do a lot of good with that style of therapeutic client work.
Also, I think it would be a good next step, in finding a person or persons who have current practices in psychology that closely mirror your goal, and reaching out to them for a possible internship or even just a 'shadowing' experience, where you could see and grow your idea, into a real plan of action.
Hopefully, in finding a possible internship experience, we could petition the university you attend for college credit for your internship. I would also recommend researching others who may have the same or close ideas as you have, and see what you could learn from those who have tried similar methods.
In working together with your university or college, I would suggest developing a graduation course plan, meeting with instructors in your chosen field, and seeing who would be a good fit for your plan of action. We would next start the process of getting your degree plan approved at your school.
On your part, research about ways to incorporate dance into a therapy session may give you ideas you had not yet considered. Assisting you in finding a mentor would be a top priority for your advisor.
Ultimately, you would need to know, in your state, what the legal requirements are to be a therapist (working with the age of client that you would like to specialize in). An advisor could help you start that process. Once you know the requirements, we would make sure you are working towards that goal, and then work with someone in the Dance department, as necessary, to include any coursework you would need to be certified in your area. I think working alongside someone to develop a plan of action, in helping you to (1) narrow or determine your focus (2) assist you in completing the necessary steps for certification in your state (3)helping you define your goals in merging the two disciplines of Dance and Psychology and (4) getting that plan approved by your school, and possibly the State, if needed, would be steps necessary to making your dream a reality.
Again, I think your idea of using dance in therapy is a fantastic idea. I hope one day to read about your success and know that you are making a real difference in the lives of others. Way to go, champ!!
Sincerely, Peyton
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Sun’s Answer

Congrats on working towards such a wonderful goal! You're on the right path with knowing what you ultimately want to do with your degree. I'll list the steps below but the overall advise I have is try to get your hands on as much experience with the work environment and familiarizing yourself with related professionals.

If you haven't already, look up the American Dance Therapy Association and browse their site.

You're on the right path and there are many paths you can take in incorporate dance therapy with children, not just as a psychologist so explore your options! Hope this helps!

Experience :

Major: Ethnic Studies & Psychology
Graduate Degree : Social Work and Public Policy

Sun recommends the following next steps:

Semester internships/ Work Experience : It's important to get a "feel" on what a class environment will be like if you plan on working with children. As you know, children are fundamentally in a different "world" compared to us adults so they have their own special needs. Something simple as being a middle/high school teaching aid can give you a lot of experience with working with kids from different backgrounds and what "works" or doesn't for a student. This is also a way for you to connect with a school counselor and learn pros/cons/obstacles you will need to anticipate.
Faculty Advisors: If you haven't already, get to know your child psychology professor and/or favorite dance professor and ask them about their work experiences with teaching and/or kids. They already have years of working knowledge to pull from and it's a great way to build a friendly relationship with these professors that may be able to refer to internships/work/research opportunities/write letters of recommendations for you.
Graduate School: Once you've done your research and decided that being a child psychologist is a no-brainer, there are many grad programs that can help you towards this goal. A licensed social worker is an option you can pursue if you're not completely ready to tackle a PhD program . I know in my graduate program, we did learn about dance therapy as a skill to implement for those that wanted to work more hands-on with their patients/demographic.
Have Fun & Self-Care : Deciding what you want to invest for yourself is the greatest journey you'll get to be on so make the most out of it. It is extremely important that you make sure you are taking care of yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally.
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Adriana’s Answer

Congratulations on recognizing your strengths.
Look into meeting with a career counselor at your university. Also, look into your local community centers, including the previous suggestions at the YMCA. Reach out to local schools and meet with someone who counsels children to see how this could become a program at a school, perhaps you could take the lead and obtain grant funding.
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Nakhia’s Answer

Congratulations on identifying your passions and seeing the possibility of them co-existing. I was majored in Mathematics and Computer Science and minored in dance. Even though I do not consistently use the both of those passions within one setting as a Dual-Enrollment Administrator at Georgia State University, I do allow my passion to thrive with my community church setting as a Dance Worship leader where I educate youth on interested women on the foundations of dance and worship. When I was a teacher, I would incorporate kinesthetic movements to further embed mathematical concepts. So I gave you my background to show you that you can be creative and start your own collaboration of dance and psychology or focus on them individually in two different spectrums of your life. The choice is yours and the opportunity that belies you is endless. Please do keep in touch to share what you decide to do but do not disregard your passions because you cannot achieve the satisfaction that you desire initially. Patience is a virtue! Be blessed
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