1st Edition

Dance/Movement Therapy for Infants and Young Children with Medical Illness Treating Somatic and Psychic Distress

By Suzi Tortora, Miri Keren Copyright 2023
    244 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    244 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents dance/movement therapy as a window into the emotional and internal experience of a baby with a medical illness, within the context of treating the whole family system and using the DC 0-5 as the basis for formulating the clinical situation.

    This book fills a gap in the literature, bringing a variety of fields together including infant mental health, infant and child psychiatry, nonverbal-movement analysis, and the creative arts therapies. Grounded in a biopsychosocial perspective, dance/movement therapy is introduced as the main treatment modality, using nonverbal expression as a means of communication, and dance and music activities as intervention tools, to support the child and family. Vignettes from both during and years after the medical experience are presented throughout the book, taking into consideration the subtle and more obvious effects of illness on the child’s later emotional, social, and behavioral development. They illustrate the expertise of the authors as infant mental health professionals, drawing upon their work in hospitals and private practices, and highlight their unique perspectives and years of collaboration.

    This exciting new book is essential reading for clinicians and mental health professionals working with infants and their families.

    1. The Role of the Baby's Body, Nonverbal-Movement Experience, and Communication in Building the Caregiver-Baby Relationship  2. The Clinical Implications of Embodiment and Memory During Infancy  3. Principles of Pediatric Medical Dance/Movement Therapy  4. Affect and Self-Regulation in Social and Emotional Development 5. Babies Remember Pain  6. The Hospital and Severe Illness-Linked Experiences: Their Impact on the Infant’s Socio-Emotional Development  7. Long-Term Effects of Chronic Life-Threatening Pediatric Illness on Later Adjustment and Their Clinical Implications  8. DC 0-5: A Multi-Axial Tool for an Integrated Formulation of Symptoms of Somatic and Psychic Distress in the First 5 Years of Life  9. Nonverbal Assessment of Somatic and Psychic Distress  10. From Lullabies to Dance-Play: The Role of Rhythm, Rocking, Song, and Dance to Soothe and Engage Infants and Young Children With Medical Illness 11. Multisensory Dance/Movement Psychotherapy Pain Management Approach  12. Summary of Key Points



    Suzi Tortora, Ed.D, BC-DMT, LCAT, a board-certified dance/movement therapist and specialist in the field of infant mental health and development, has a private dance/movement psychotherapy practice in New York City and Cold Spring, New York. She is the International Medical Creative Arts Spokesperson for the Andréa Rizzo Foundation and senior dance/movement therapist at Integrative Medicine Service Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NYC.

    Miri Keren, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist, is the Clinical Assistant Professor Emeritus at Tel Aviv University, a clinical and research consultant at the Early Childhood Outpatient clinic of Ziv Bar Ilan University, Beit Izi Shapira Center for disabled infants and toddlers, and at the Failure to Thrive unit of the Schneider Hospital for Sick Children. She is the former president of the World Association for Infant Mental Health and Chair of the World Psychiatric Association Perinatal Section.

    "Integrating their shared experiences, the authors, Miri Kiren as an infant psychiatrist and Suzi Tortora as a dance/movement therapist, have put together an extraordinarily valuable text focused on the impact of serious medical illnesses on the development of very young children. Particularly important is the emphasis throughout the book on how very young children’s development, both healthy and/or dysfunctional, is fundamentally shaped by non-verbally based physiological, sensory-motor, and affective interchanges between infants and their caregivers, interchanges that are internalized and become deeply "embodied" in the child’s psyche. Building on this fundamental aspect of early development, the authors provide detailed descriptions of the mechanisms underlying young children’s vulnerability to medical procedures and the potential immediate and long-term effects, the ways in which parents and medical personnel can help to reduce these potential traumatic effects, and rich descriptions of clinically effective non-verbal dance-movement techniques involving both child and caregiver. This richness of material will apply not only in work with seriously ill young children but with any young child who has experienced trauma. A special treat for every reader, not just those who work with the medically ill but any caregiver of very young children, will be the tables and appendices that describe the huge range of nonverbally based observations that caregivers can utilize to read young children’s physical, mental, and emotional states."

    Theodore Gaensbauer, MD [email protected]

    Clinical Professor, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, Colorado.

    "Drs. Tortora and Keren offer a very accessible volume here, contributing to the maturation of medical dance/movement therapy (DMT) with specialized applications for this population. The authors’ vivid descriptions of clinical sessions are a fabulous introduction to DMT for the reader unfamiliar with this mind-body integrated creative arts therapy discipline. Professional clinicians and graduate students will get close-up insights to how seasoned, intuitive, and expert therapists go about this sensitive, essential work on a moment-to-moment basis. Educators will appreciate how each well-referenced chapter can stand on its own. Theoretically rooted in development, trauma, embodiment, intersubjectivity, and regulation theories and research, integrated with practical models for pediatrics and DMT, the book exemplifies the interdisciplinarity that potentiates all medical DMT and indeed, all good health care delivery."

    Sherry Goodill, Ph.D., BC-DMT, NCC, LPC [email protected]

    Clinical Professor, Department of Creative Arts Therapies, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University

    "To begin to understand how significant illness affects infants and children is quite daunting – this work by Dr. Tortora and Dr. Keren is excellent in exploring the intersection of experience and development with the added important insight of how dance/movement therapy can be used to intervene in these situations. I’m glad to know this work now exists, strengthening our understanding of the power of dance and movement."

    Nirupa Raghunathan, MD [email protected]

    Director, Pediatric Integrative Medicine, Integrative Medicine Service Department of Medicine Memorial Sloan Kettering Center NY, NY