In this ADTA Talk, Dr. Suzi Tortora, Ed.D., BC-DMT, C.M.A., LCAT, LMHC, explains the concept of “embodied parenting.” Drawing from interpersonal neurobiology and dance/movement therapy, she shares why attuned nonverbal communication between parent and child is crucial to infant mental health and how dancing is needed in this world now more than ever.
“What we know in dance/movement therapy is that our body speaks and tells us about our experiences in our life,” Tortora asserts.
Winnicott, British psychoanalyst and pediatrician, “actually states that it’s the mother that introduces the baby to her body,” Tortora shares. “And what he’s talking about here is that the very sense of self – our very sense of existence – starts from this attuned experience in relationship to other.”
This is what Tortora has coined the “dancing dialogue” – the attuned, sensitive, reflective responsive interaction between baby and mother. This communication begins at birth – possibly even in utero.
“This way of speaking and connecting never ends. For the baby’s very sense of being and feeling alive is dependent on these early experiences between self and other, and most often between the primary caregivers and the baby.”
Tortora adds: “What we’re emphasizing here is that the baby’s experience is first felt – really experienced through her nonverbal and multisensory levels. And so this is where the body and movement really come into play and are paramount for how we develop.”