Staff profile

Rachael-Louise Stonard


Lecturer in Therapeutic Arts (Dance Movement Psychotherapy Specialism) Programme Lead MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy


College of Arts, Humanities and Education



I am a Lecturer in Therapeutic Arts and Programme Lead for the MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy. In addition, I continue to practice as a Dance Movement Psychotherapist and I specialise in working with adults and children who have experienced trauma.  I am committed to the development of Dance Movement Psychotherapy with the belief that everyone should have access to therapy that meets their needs. I am passionate about delivering psychotherapeutic support in a creative, flexible and original way whilst supporting trainee DMP's to develop their own research and practice.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach mostly on the MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy and lead several modules including Psyche Soma: The Mind and Body Relationship, Movement Observation and Analysis, Research Theory and Skills and Experiential Group. I also facilitate both stage one and stage two clinical supervision groups.

In addition to postgraduate teaching, I teach the Human Development and Play module on the BA Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing. 

Professional interests

I am particularly interested in developmental psychology and identity formation. This, as well as neuroscience and it's links with psychotherapy, underpins my clinical work to date and my continued practice. The modules I teach are a reflection of these interests and include learning from continued clinical experience. 

Research interests

I am interested in all aspects of recovery from trauma and, in particular, the impact that embodied psychotherapy intervention has on future outcomes of clients. 

Membership of professional bodies


Experience in industry

I have 10 years of practice experience in the third sector and education. I have consistently been employed as a practitioner and before becoming an academic ran a successful practice which also supported newly qualified therapists to work on a self employed basis. I have previously facilitated student placements, mentored newly qualified therapists and provided employability coaching to early career practitioners. 

My clinical practice has provided opportunities for me to specialise in supporting clients who have experienced domestic violence and abuse, clients who are victims/survivors of sexual crimes and to facilitate psychotherapy on a pre-trial basis. I have also worked with clients at risk of suicide and with children and adolescents who self-harm. As an extension to this, I have also offered family support often working with parents/carers and siblings.

More recently I have worked exclusively with children post-adoption through the Adoption Support Fund. This has involved ongoing collaborative work with other psychotherapists and social care. 

I have facilitated training to professionals, organisations and schools. This started with a desire to make trauma informed practice commonplace and to support professionals to better understand child and adolescent behaviour. I was specifically interested in supporting professionals who worked with children and young people who had patterns of absconding, self harm, dissociation and difficulties with educational attainment.

International experience

In 2013 I took the opportunity to visit New York several times and for some extended periods. During this time I was able to connect with Dance Movement Therapists in NYC and engage with learning, workshops, embodied practice and watch performances at the Laban Institute for Movement Studies (LIMS).

Additional interests and activities

I came to psychotherapy from a performing arts background. I still enjoy moving and my ongoing yoga practice. I am also a classically trained musician and continue to practice these skills.