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Erica Hornthal

Erica HornthalSpecialties: movement, dance, mental health, anxiety, depression, trauma, nervous system regulation
Home base: Chicago, IL
Website: ericahornthal.com
Facebook: facebook.com/EricaHornthal
Instagram: @the.therapist.who.moves.you

Erica Hornthal is a licensed clinical professional counselor and board-certified dance/movement therapist. She is an expert on the intersection of movement and mental health. She is a pioneer in the field of dance/movement therapy and it was her own journey on using dance for healing that led her to combine her passion for helping people with her love for dance. Erica received Body Aware coverher MA in dance/movement therapy and counseling from Columbia College Chicago in 2008. She then completed her post-graduate training working in an adult day program where she led movement-based support groups and individual therapy session with people diagnosed with cognitive impairments such as dementia and traumatic brain injury.

Erica Hornthal’s award-winning book, Body Aware: Rediscover Your Mind-Body Connection, Stop Feeling Stuck, and Improve Your Mental Health with Simple Movement Practices (North Atlantic Books, 2022), introduces readers to a groundbreaking narrative that the wayMovement Therapy Deck box we move influences who we are and that in order to change harmful thought patterns and unhealthy behaviors, we must change the way we move. Her most recent release, The Movement Therapy Deck: 52 Mindful Movement Exercises to Regulate Your Nervous System and Process Trauma (North Atlantic Books, 2024), is an at-home tool designed to support regulation of the nervous system and processing of trauma. Accessible for all ages, this 52-card deck teaches people to create secure attachments to their bodies in order to create a sense of safety in the everyday experience. Her forthcoming book, BodyTalk (Balance, 2025), provides daily practices that allow readers to reestablish connection to their bodies in order to support mental health and emotional well-being.

Erica is currently the CEO of Chicago Dance Therapy, the Midwest’s premier somatic psychotherapy practice. She has contributed research and publications on topics related to mental health, dance and somatic psychotherapy, and she frequently presents her work at conferences and university symposia. Her work has been recognized internationally and by media outlets including NBC News, CBS Chicago, The New York Times, PARADE, Reader’s Digest and Dance Magazine. A sought-after speaker and therapist. She has been applauded by her colleagues and the public for her ability to explain complex mind-body principles and movement science to a lay audience. Erica is regularly asked to speak to special-interest groups, industry groups and schools. She has appeared on many TV news programs,radio programs and podcasts.

Suggested Topics

  • Movement for Mental Health
    A lecture that describes how the way we move impacts who we are. This lecture addresses the science behind dance/movement therapy, polyvagal theory and the mind-body connection. This lecture can also be modified to focus on trauma and the body.

  • Moving Through Dementia
    A lecture on the benefits of mindful movement and dance on individuals with cognitive and movement disorders. This lecture discusses basics of dementia, how the brain is impacted, and how movement addresses each in order to support communication and ease distress.

  • Beyond Words: The Power of Movement in Therapy
    A valuable lecture for mental-health professionals, doctors and therapists that helps them understand how nonverbal communication can be used to support the patient/client-practitioner relationship. This lecture uncovers the benefits of body language, body awareness, tone and body movement in order to best support patients/clients. This lecture can be modified to include certain populations such as children, developmental difference, and cognitive disorders.

Video Samples