A dance and movement psychotherapist from the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is setting off for Canada, having been awarded a place on the 2010 Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to lecture and present on dementia care.
The Trust provides mental health and learning disability services to people in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield and dance and movement psychotherapist Dr Richard Coaten works in Calderdale’s older people’s mental health services.
Richard’s role involves using movement, dance, music and reminiscence techniques to help older people with mental health problems maintain their skills and abilities for as long as possible. The work also helps foster relationships and aims to enable people to continue to live independently in the community.
Research shows that non-verbal communication such as dance and movement can make a real difference in helping people live as full and rich a life as possible.
To further his knowledge and understanding of dance therapy in other countries Richard is to embark on a six month study in Canada as part of the travelling fellowship. He will be exchanging experiences with people across the Atlantic and hopefully bring back new ideas to further improve the already excellent older people’s services across the Trust.
The travelling fellowships are open to British citizens and are awarded each year. They are designed to enhance effectiveness in a person’s career or field of interest by giving someone the time and space, with full financial support, to learn, reflect and develop in a chosen field, returning revitalised and with renewed enthusiasm for their subject.
As part of the fellowship Richard will investigate the use of dance movement psychotherapy in the dementia care field at the same time as sharing his own knowledge at Universities and other organisations in both Toronto and Vancouver.
Richard is looking to make the most of his time in Canada and is planning to attend an international conference in the town of Penticton in the Rocky Mountains on, ‘Communication, expression and creativity in dementia’, where he will also be presenting his work and meeting new colleagues in the field.
Richard said, "This is a great opportunity for me to further my knowledge of how dance therapy is being used in different countries at the same time as looking at how we might progress the use of it across the Trust. We are already seeing some positive results and look to further the use of dance and movement therapy in all services across the Trust. This study will enable me to raise the profile of the Trust abroad and form links with other colleagues in the field."