About Me

Shirley Brocklehurst, Psychotherapy

I was drawn to the profession of Dance Movement Psychotherapy out of a lifelong passion for dance combined with a fascination with the connection between mind and body.

When I’m not working, my other passion – and my own personal therapy – is gardening. In my spare time I enjoy tending my plants, growing herbs and salads in the greenhouse or creating tranquil sensory spaces around my studio in the heart of rural Cheshire. This helps me appreciate the healing qualities of being in nature.

Teaching Dance

I taught dance and movement for over 45 years. My earliest dance passion was ballroom dancing. Over the years I have added other disciplines and styles to my training. However, I still enjoy helping couples learn to dance together. I also have great satisfaction in creating first dances for weddings.

Early in my career I realised that there were underlying reasons why people came to my classes. In addition to the obvious one of learning a new skill, something else was going on. I found that the relational and expressive aspects of dance were as important to me as the actual steps, if not more so. And there was also something about the way I related to my participants. I saw my role as helping to fulfil their potential, rather than criticising their technique. I wanted to accompany them as they discovered the joy of movement for themselves.

Movement Therapy

My classes attracted participants who were finding their way again after bereavement, illness or injury and some came because it helped them manage their challenges with mental health. When I discovered that Dance Therapy was actually a profession, I knew I had found my calling. Consequently, I embarked on studying for a Masters Degree in Dance Movement Psychotherapy. I graduated from Canterbury Christ Church University 10 years ago and soon acquired my licence for private practice.

My fascination with all things mind-body related, along with an appreciation of the natural world, also drew me to the study and practice of Tai Chi and Qi Gong which now form part of my wellness programme – Movement In Mind.


As well as my Masters in DMP, I am qualified as a Keep Fit teacher, a Level 4 Fitness Instructor and a Postural Stability (Falls Prevention) Instructor. I am a member of the Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy UK (ADMP UK) and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) as well as the Chartered Institute for Management of Sports and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

I hold teaching qualifications with the Tai Chi for Health Institute and the International Tai Chi Alliance. I am a member of the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain and the Deyin Taijiquan Institute.

In Practice

My clients include people who are experiencing the affects of bereavement, depression, abuse, addiction and emotional difficulties, as well as conditions such as Dementia, Autism, Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar Disorder.  I also work with clients seeking personal growth self-exploration or self-understanding


I am one of a team of therapists delivering and supporting research projects for Edge Hill University’s Health and Wellbeing faculty. In this capacity I am currently delivering Arts for Blues – creative arts therapies for anxiety and depression. I also delivered Dancing with Health – DMP for survivors of breast cancer and DMP groups in primary schools. I have also worked with Queen Mary University in London as therapist on the NESS project – body oriented therapy for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. My community work includes freelancing for Age UK and Cheshire Dance, as well as delivering sessions for Parkinson’s UK, and I am linked to the NHS Social Prescription Services for Nantwich & Rural.

Other organisations I have worked with include Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Mersey Care NHS Trust as well as the Centre for Psychiatry, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University, London. 

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