Updated: Jun 14
I first met Kimberley through at an event at John Lewis Cheltenham that I was filming along with the Cheltenham Wellbeing Festival. I instantly connected with her and absolutely love her ethos and how she makes dance and movement accessible to all to help with mental health struggles. Before I met Kimberley, I had no idea that dance could be am option for normal every day people to help them through their struggles, not only to feel better but also another option on how to express themselves. So I knew I had to share her story and how she can help others!
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us. So, who are you and what do you do?
I am Kimberley Pena and I am a Registered Dance Movement Psychotherapist, Specialist Mental Health Practitioner and Wellbeing Presenter.
How long have you been dancing for?
I have been dancing since the age of 5 but professional since age 16.
What led you onto your journey into linking dance with mental health?
When I was in my early twenties one of the dance contracts I was working on was heavily involved with Charity Make a Wish Foundation and Great Ormond street so I began visiting young people around the country who were no longer able to see the show. Taking dance out of the theatre and studio and into hospitals and people’s homes made me acutely aware of the power of movement as a method of self-expression, a way of connecting without barriers and ultimately tool for healing and release. I was truly inspired by these interactions and Knowing the life span of a dance career is short I started researching if there was job that allowed me to use both the art and science behind dance to support others. I found out that Dance Movement Psychotherapy was a register practice across the globe and applied for the Masters. I haven’t looked back since.
What is your favourite thing about teaching people about dance/movement?
I love to support people understanding that there are ways beyond talking therapies and medication that could help them, especially ways that are evidence based and safe. When a person is nonverbal and the fist option of treatment/support hasn’t been helpful it can be very overwhelming. Sharing about Dance Movement Psychotherapy and giving people options is a huge passion of mine, because knowledge is power.
How do you think dance and movement is beneficial to our mental wellbeing?
Movement is the only we have to experience and respond to the word but as we have prioritised languages we have forgotten this At times when our mental health is overwhelmed we need to return to the body as a place of healing, to literally and metaphor shake things off and rebuild our relationship with both our body and our mind. Once we feel safe in ourselves so much is possible. Movement empowers us.
Tell us more about your work through the NHS
At the moment I work part time for the Berkshire NHS eating disorders service offering DMP groups and individual sessions as well as being part of service development to support access to treatment methods that best meet the needs of the individual.
Do you run any classes or how do we book you for a session?
Within my private practice ‘Moving Through life’ I run various workshops in the Cotswolds whilst also offering for 1:1 sessions. If you feel like you want to explore if DMP could support you just contact me via my website and we can begin that conversation and exploration together. Sessions run both online and face to face to cater to as much need as possible.
What are your hopes for the future?
That’s a big questions and I think my most authentic answer, because there is so much unknown about the future, is to continue to both hold onto hope and share hope in all areas of my life.
Thanks so much Kimberley!
To find out more about Kimberley or to contact her, please take a look at her website - https://www.movingthroughlife.co.uk/
Or you can find her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/kimberleyrdmp