Suzi Tortora

Biography

Suzi Tortora, Ed.D., BC-DMT, CMA, LCAT, LMHC

Founder/Director: Dancing Dialogue, LCAT LMHC PLLC

Suzi Tortora, EdD, BC-DMT, LCAT, LMHC holds a doctorate from Columbia University and serves as consultant to the “Mothers, Infants and Young Children of September 11, 2001: A Primary Prevention Project” in the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University under Dr. Beatrice Beebe. Dr Tortora has a dance/movement psychotherapy practice, in New York City and Cold Spring, New York. She has been the manager of the Integrative Medicine Services Dréas Dream dance/movement therapy program for pediatric patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center since its inception in 2003. Dr. Tortora has published numerous papers about her therapeutic and nonverbal communication analysis work and her book, The Dancing Dialogue is used extensively in dance/movement therapy training programs. Dr. Tortora received the 2010 Marian Chace Distinguished Dance Therapist award from the National Dance Therapy Association. She holds a board position at NY Zero to Three Network. Dr. Tortora has international training programs in Europe, South America and Asia including  The Netherlands, Argentina and China. She has been featured on “Good Morning America”, “Eyewitness News” ABC –TV Malcolm Gladwell’s recent book, What the Dog Saw.

Shall We Dance? Using Creative Arts Therapies to Promote Play, Social -relatedness and Self-Expression in ASD

Abstract: Evan was diagnosed with ASD when he was almost two-years old. Though he received the full spectrum of services Early Intervention provides, by age three his parents felt there was an emotional, expressive, empathic, creative “boy inside” that was not being reached through these finely structured interventions. That is when they discovered dance/movement therapy (DMT). Through experientials, videotapes and discussion with Dr. Tortora this presentation will chronicle Evan’s journey from age two to seventeen. Starting with DMT this journey has flourished through Evan’s gifted musicality, inquisitive creative mind, sensitive capacity for symbolic expression, and passion for all the fine arts. This presentation will demonstrate how the creative arts therapies continue to enable Evan, a person deeply on the spectrum, to develop his voice and his embodied presence.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discover the important role the creative arts therapies can play in supporting children with ASD to communicate their unique feelings and perspectives about their experience and the world around them.
  2. Learn how creative movement, dance, body awareness and relaxation activities can be used to support internal regulation, strengthen attachment relationships and build social skills for children with ASD.
  3. Learn how to understand, communicate and work with difficult, obscure and hard to read nonverbal cues through an interactive nonverbal observation system based on dance/movement therapy principles and Laban nonverbal movement analysis.

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