Dance Movement Therapy
& Exercise and Health Psychology
About Marja Cantell, PhD
Sointula Beach House, BC
Marja Cantell is a Finnish born movement researcher and specialist who facilitates self-reflective and creative movement for individuals and groups in Europe and North-America. She has explored movement in different forms as long as she can remember, including dance, yoga, diving, sailing, x-country skiing, slalom, marathon running, hiking, kayaking, rowing, soccer, and volley ball.
In the exercise psychology context she offers consultation related to body image, physical activity, and healthy living. She is also available for body-based supervision for professionals in counseling, education and health care.
Dr. Cantell is especially interested in the development and experience of physical self-perception and its impact to our relationships and well-being. She has expertise in children and adolescents with developmental challenges, e.g. children with movement difficulties, (sometimes called Dyspraxia or Developmental Coordination Disorder, see below), and adolescents with body image challenges (e.g., eating disorders or concerns over overweight and obesity). In addition, she facilitates self-exploratory movement sessions for adults and elderly with and without chronic illness.
On a more personal note, Marja finds it fascinating that gradually also the scientific model recognizes that we human beings are neurologically endowed with the capacity for mutual knowing, understanding and feeling. Recent neuroscientific findings postulate that our social capacity is a product of neurobiology and early interpersonal interactions (see e.g., Gallese, Keysers, & Rizzolatti, 2002; Siegel, 1999, 2007). A more holistic understanding of body-mind interactions has begun to emerge in neuroscience and neurobiology (Berrol, 2006). It is thus possible to describe the process and outcome of body-mind practices, such as Dance Movement Therapy, using models that emphasize our artistic and creative needs as well as our innate need for mirroring and relationships. To put it simply:
We move to perceive ourselves in a relationship
to others and to our environment.
We move to express ourselves and to be seen
by the accepting other.
Photo: C. Richardson
I would like to dedicate my movement
journey to my mentors who have taught me how to be the choreographer of my own life:
Leah Bartal, Rosa Shreeves, Dawne Larkin, Judith Slimmon and Anita Timmer. I am grateful for the shared paths. Thank you!
I'm also grateful of my family and friends for creating my day to day oasis. Dank jullie wel & Kiitos!
MA in Clinical Psychology 1991; minor studies in sport science and exercise psychology
University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Postgraduate Diploma in Dance Movement Therapy 1995
Roehampton University, UK
PhD in Psychology 1998
University of Lancaster, UK
Postdoctorate Fellowship in Human Movement Science 1999
University of Western Australia, Australia
University teacher training, 2000; 2013
University of Jyväskylä, Finland; University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Specialized movement training in Finland, UK, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands taught by reowned world experts:
Thank You to Marcia Plevin, Tina Stromstedt, Judith Koltai, Janet Adler
Thank You to Penelope Best, Walli Meier, Katya Bloom, Mijna Hadders-Algra, Dawne Larkin, Darcy McGehee
Thank You to Alice Cummins, Linda Hartley, Teija Häyrynen, Judith Koltai
Also courses in Jazz dance, Modern dance, African dance, Ashtanga Yoga, Sherborne Developmental Movement, Body Mind Centering, Contact Improvisation, Gabrielle Roth 5 Rhythms, Jungle Gym, Shindo, Psychomotricity, Feldenkrais Method, Alexander Technique, Marja Putkisto Method, Inclusive Dance Theatre, Meditation, CoreConnexion, DanceAbility, BodyBalance, Energetic Dance, Franklin Methode, Moving Cycle, Dansimprovisatie, Somatic Movement, Aerial Yoga
Specialized courses in creative and expressive arts
Thank You to Leah Bartal, Shaun McNiff and Carmen Richardson
Clinical Psychology Intern, Health Centre, Jyväskylä, Finland, 1989-1990
Occupational Psychologist, Manpower Office, Jyväskylä, Finland 1991-1992
Dance Movement Facilitator 1995-
Lecturer in Exercise Psychology, U. of Jyväskylä, Finland, 1997-2002
A/Professor in Paediatrics, U. of Calgary & Alberta Children's Hospital, Canada, 2002-2010
Dance Movement Therapist, Eating Disorder Clinic, Alberta Children's Hospital, 2006-2010
Docent, Research Methodology in Psychology, U. of Groningen, 2011-2013
A/Professor, Early Child Development & Special Educational Needs, U. of Groningen, 2012-
Research Coach, Master in Arts Therapies, Codarts University of the Arts, Rotterdam 2016-
Selected Writings about Movement
Developmental Psychology/Human Movement Science
Van der Veer, G., Kamphorst, E., Cantell, M., Minnaert, A., & Houwen, S. (2020). Task-specific and latent relationships between motor skills and executive functions in preschool children. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 2208. Open access: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.02208
Houwen, S., Kamphorst, E., van der Veer, G., & Cantell, M. (2019). Identifying patterns of motor performance, executive functioning, and verbal ability in preschool children: A latent profile analysis. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 84, 3-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2018.04.002
Cantell, M., Houwen, S., & Schoemaker, M. (2018). Age-related validity and reliability of the Dutch Little Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire (LDCDQ-NL). Research in Developmental Disabilities. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2018.02.010
Pediatric Exercise & Health Psychology
Meissner, M., Cantell, M. H., Steiner, R., & Sanchez, X. (2016). Evaluating emotional well-being after a short-term traditional yoga practice approach in yoga practitioners with an existing Western-type yoga practice. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016. Open access: http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/7216982
Cantell, M., Crawford, S., & Dewey, D. (2013). Daily physical activity in young children and their parents: A descriptive study. Pediatric Child Health, 17(3), e20-24. Open access: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23450045
Cantell, M., Crawford, S., & Doyle-Baker, P.K. (2008). Physical fitness and health indices in children, adolescents and adults with high or low motor competence. Human Movement Science, 27, 344-362.
Dance Movement Therapy
Samaritter, R., & Cantell, M. (2020). Wording the complexity of dance movement therapy: A scoping review on how dance movement therapists describe their clinical practice. In H. Wengrower & S. Chaiklin (Eds.), Dance and creativity within dance movement therapy (pp. 111-123. New York & London: Routledge.
Ylonen, M., & Cantell, M. (2009). Kinesthetic narratives: Interpretations for children's dance therapy process. Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy, 4(3), 1-16.
Cantell, M., & McGehee, D. (2006). Movement quality in children with developmental delay: midline and weight sensing as markers of adaptive movement development. Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy, 1(2), 129-141.
List of recent publications via the pubmed:
Effortti, Journal of the Finnish Dance Therapy Association can be accessed via: http://tanssiterapia.net/index.php?page=31
Cantell, M. (2014). Runoja, Effortti, 8 (1), 39-41.
Cantell, M. (2011). Maailman varjo [The world umbrella]. Effortti, Journal, 5 (1), 24.
Cantell, M. (2010). Witnessing the Unknown Unfold. Effortti, 4(1), 12.
Cantell, M. (2008). Lähtijän ja palaajan aatoksia [Cycle of leaving and returning]. Effortti,2, 5-8.
Cantell, M. (2002). Golden energy. Moving Journal, 9(1), 8.
See excerpts in the section called Some embodied thoughts"
Please feel free to contact me for a full CV and (electronic) copies of my articles and writings. This can be done with a contact form at the "Events and contact info" section.
Ashtanga and Aerial Yoga
Hiking & Cycling
X-country skiing & Downhill skiing
Paddling & Rowing
Moraine Lake. AB
Syntonics® and The Professional Guild and Masterclass of
Federatie Vaktherarapeutische Beroepen, NL: www.vaktherapie.nl
Suomen tanssiterapia yhdistys/Dance Therapy Association, Finland:
Roehampton University, Dance Movement Therapy: http://studentzone.roehampton.ac.uk/subjectinfo/