Personal Background and Influences on my Work

I first consciously harnessed the healing power of dance when I was 19 years old to help me through a period of angst. This was long before I knew Dance/Movement Therapy was an established profession. Since that time, I have been engaged in a path of self- discovery and self-expression through movement, dance, psychological and spiritual

Authentic Movement was the initial kinesthetic process I studied to integrate unconscious elements of the body, psyche, and spirit. This form taught me how to listen attentively to my immediate body experience, to physically express evolving images, memories and emotions and to be a clear, attentive witness to the movement of others.
  Next, I was drawn to the dynamic improvisation and performance practice of Body Tales which weaves personal storytelling with creative movement expression.
I received my Marriage and Family Therapist License (LMFT) and became registered as a Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DTR) in 1995. Soon after, I began studying The Blanche Evan Method of dance therapy with Bonnie Bernstein. This work is a major influence on my present practice. The approach purposefully mobilizes the many creative elements of dance to discover, express and integrate in depth personal questions and issues.
  Currently, I am an advanced student of Hakomi Body-Centered Psychotherapy and use this a great deal in my work. Through mindfulness and somatically-based awareness, this method gently supports exploring present experience. By staying with felt experience, the transformation of old core beliefs into new choices and the emerging of your true self can evolve.
In 1985, when I moved from living in big cities, to smaller towns, I discovered the transformational powers of being out in nature. Since then, I have found my spiritual and psychological haven in natural settings: walking, meditating, and doing movement practices. My love of the earth has inspired me to share this love with others in my Ecotherapy work and to take actions to protect the Earth. I am a member of my church's Earth Justice Associates which educates and supports actions on an individual, local and global level. Recently, I became chair of our local elementary school's “Green Team” composed of parents and students learning about sustainability and greening our school.  
  Other meaningful influences on my work are Egyptian, African and Jazz dance, The NIA Technique, Yoga, T'ai Chi Chih, and spiritual dance. These diverse dance forms as well as depth-oriented movement practices continue to be a part of who I am and how I approach body-oriented psychotherapy.

Teaching and Professional Experience

For the last two years, I have been on the core faculty at John F. Kennedy University in San Jose, in the Holistic Studies Specialization for the Marriage and Family Therapy track. I teach classes and seminars in Ecotherapy, Nature and Spirituality, Movement, and Body Oriented Psychotherapies. In previous years, I taught Body Consciousness/Body Wisdom and Group Process at JFKU in Pleasant Hill and supervised interns at the JFKU Oakland Center for Holistic Counseling. Recently, I presented Dancing with the Earth- Joining Ecotherapy and Dance/Movement Therapy at the D/MT national conference in Albuquerque. This summer I completed the Mirroring the Four Shields of Human Nature: the Art of Story Telling and Listening with School of Lost Borders.


Each winter I offer Deep Power -- a ten week expressive arts workshop with: movement, dance, drawing, writing, storytelling and transformational ritual. This is a great opportunity for singles or couples to explore inner power and learn ways to express it outwardly and heartfully in relationships, jobs and the world. Please see my workshops page for more information and FREE introduction evening.

In 2006, I developed the series Meditation and Movement in Nature to create a safe container for people to immerse in the beauty and awe of nature. Through earth based meditations, authentic natural movement and Earth art, we explore our connection with the earth, ourselves and each other. I offer 4 week classes or drop in days in the spring and fall. See my workshops page for more details and FREE class for National Dance Week.


  For 15 years, I taught the movement forms of T'ai Chi Chih, NIA (mind/body/spirit aerobics), and Creative Movement and Dance for Children. Teaching helped me to develop my movement observation skills, to lead and follow a group's energy, and to integrate many styles of movement.

I taught Couples Communication for Kaiser Permanente from 2000-2001. These classes focused on listening skills, positive and effective communication styles, managing anger and conflicts, and problem solving.



In 1996, I trained with BAWAR (Bay Area Women Against Rape) answering crisis calls for women and co-leading support groups including one with a combination of self-defense and therapeutic processing.

I have been in private practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 1996, and have supported people with the following issues:

Self esteem

Relationship challenges

Fertility and prenatal issues

New parenthood

Childhood trauma

Body image

Anxiety and stress

Sexual assault


Life transitions

Spiritual growth

Opening to creativity

Copyright 2010 by Ariana Candell, MFT, R-DMT
Website Design by Julia Stege of
Website Updates and Maintenance by Webdillo Design
Illustrations by Caroline Seckinger
Photography by Zach Pine




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Ariana Candell, MFT, DTR