Dance/Movement Therapy and Eating Disorders: An ADTA Talk

Engaging Persons with Eating Disorders through Our Native Language–Dance

Dance/movement therapy is a wonderful way to help people with eating disorders reclaim their connection with their body and with themselves.” –Susan Kleinman, board certified dance/movement therapist and eating disorder specialist.

Individuals who develop eating disorders also develop strained connections with their own bodies. The body — the source of all of our thoughts, feelings, and experiences —  can begin to feel like a stranger or even an enemy to someone managing eating disorder symptoms. Because of this dynamic it is vital that recovery treatment for eating disorders address the whole person: mind, body and the relationship between the two.

In this ADTA Talk, board certified dance/movement therapist and certified eating disorder specialist Susan Kleinman provides her expertise about treating individuals with eating disorders through dance/movement therapy--the psychotherapeutic use of movement the further integration the social, cognitive, emotional and physical aspects of a person. Her work as a dance/movement therapist focuses on supporting individuals with creating a healthy connection to their own bodies while processing underlying emotions and overcoming challenges through movement.

One problem that exists for people with eating disorders is – they bury their feelings, and the burial ground is the body itself.

Kleinman elaborates on the root challenges associated with eating disorders as well as the illusion of control the symptoms of an eating disorder can create for a person. Through the use of dance/movement therapy, Kleinman states “individuals can reclaim their connection with their body and with themselves by experiencing and expressing feelings and then identifying the connection between what they discover, metaphorically, and how they move through life.” Dance and movement in treatment is not only a resource to increase self-awareness with one’s body, but also provides a medium for creative expression, positive self-regulation and a way to connect with others–all important components to the recovery process. 

Because our native language is body language, Kleinman explains, it is only natural that treatment involve movement. As humans we are all participating in a dance of life–dance that is accessible to all while providing a vessel for recovery.

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ADTA Talks are made possible by a grant from the Marian Chace Foundation

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