Connect
To Top

Meet Erica Hornthal of Chicago Dance Therapy in Northfield

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erica Hornthal.

Erica, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I always knew I wanted to be in a helping profession. I just didn’t know what that would look like until a professor introduced me to the field of dance/movement therapy. I had always been interested in dance and used it as my own means of therapy and expression. Dance was my way to relieve stress, enhance my awareness and my self-esteem. I was so excited to know that I could use my love for dance and interest in helping people to create a job that I didn’t have to settle for, but rather would meet all my criteria for a meaningful and fulfilling career.

After graduating with my BS in Psychology from the University of IL Champaign-Urbana, I attended graduate school at Columbia College Chicago where I received an MA in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling. I fell in love with working with older adults diagnosed with cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing that I needed hours of supervision and experience to get licensed as a counselor in IL, I started working in nursing homes, day centers, memory care facilities and senior centers around Chicagoland. After acquiring my hours and sitting for my license, I knew that I wanted to be a therapist in private practice, but when the time came to apply for jobs, there were not many options. I decided that if the position didn’t exist that I would create it. So in 2011, I founded North Shore Dance Therapy, Inc.

I started working out of the North Shore since there not only seemed to be a need, but that was also where I lived. As word spread, our client base grew. I hired additional staff and now do business as Chicago Dance Therapy since we service Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. I continue to work with clients, grow the practice and educate the public on the importance of the body and movement in mental health and psychotherapy.

Has it been a smooth road?
Entrepreneurship is never an easy road, but it has been extremely rewarding and worth every obstacle. The most prominent struggle is the misconception around the field of dance/movement therapy. Although it has been around for nearly 70 years, not many people know about it and that initially made getting clients and referrals very difficult. In the almost 7 years I have been in business, that is thankfully changing. The creative arts therapies (music therapy, art therapy, dance therapy, and drama therapy) are getting much deserved recognition and that has helped people understand that they have options when it comes to their mental health and psychotherapy needs. I have made it my personal mission to spread awareness for the field of dance/movement therapy so that mainstream society can understand its uses and benefits.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Chicago Dance Therapy – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Chicago Dance Therapy in the premier dance/movement therapy and counseling practice in Chicago, providing services to individuals of all ages and abilities. We serve the city of Chicago as well as the surrounding suburbs. As a practice we provide a niche form of psychotherapy that incorporates the body and movement into the therapeutic relationship. Within the group, I specialize in working with individuals affected by movement disorders (i.e. Parksinson’s disease), cognitive disorders (dementia), anxiety, and trauma.

I am most proud of the presence we have created in the community. Not only do more people now know about dance/movement therapy, but people know the name “Chicago Dance Therapy” for the reputation and level of service we provide. We are proud to be bringing awareness to the mental health needs of everyone regardless of their ability to verbally communicate. Chicago Dance Therapy offers psychotherapy that transcends the spoken word and therefore touches individuals in ways that talk therapy cannot.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
My favorite thing about this city is its accessibility. My least favorite thing about Chicago is that it’s not near an ocean (okay the Lake is a good substitute).

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mindy Garfinkle Photography, WBBM Newsradio Lisa Fielding, Kari Angell Luc, Mindy Garfinkle Photography, Chicago Parent

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in