A-Z Teen Health Glossary

My name is Dr. Lori Baudino and I am a licensed clinical psychologist and dance movement therapist. Dance movement therapy is the therapeutic use of movement to further an individual’s cognitive, physical, emotional, and social integration. Sometimes it’s difficult to communicate with our words, and rather than just thinking about it or talking about it, you get to embody it and really start to transform how these emotions and more maladaptive behaviors are in our lives.

Dance movement therapy, because of the word “dance,” has a lot of misperception about teaching dance, and it being an art form of dance. And dance is a beautiful art form that does help your body and it releases endorphins and it can feel really good and you can increase flexibility and range of movement. That’s wonderful; however, this is really about how our body holds emotional and psychological experiences in our body. There’s no right or wrong, so it can be from the littlest movement of just breathing, eye movement, to a gesture of telling a story, to physically moving, jumping, running, twirling, whatever you want to do.

So I am looking at the body in terms of body posture, in terms of how I relate to somebody else in my space. How every time I talk about my parents or an experience with substance abuse or addiction, my body tends to make a certain type of posture. And then I might ask them to tell me if that’s a familiar feeling or what that looks like to them. When have they done this movement before? And we might speed it up, slow it down. I might make it bigger for them. We might make a whole activity out of it.

So it’s very tangible and it is something that yeah, you start by saying, “I don’t know about this,” but it feels so much more comfortable actually than talking is, that usually we just jump right in. It can be really, really quite simple. [Laughter]