Episode 113 Body In Motion | Harnessing The Benefits Of Therapeutic Dance: Interview with Gabrielle Rivero

Apr 12, 2023

What is therapeutic dance? How can you integrate physical and emotional aspects of the body to promote healing and overall well-being?

MEET Gabrielle Rivero

Gabrielle Rivero is the founder of the Lenae Release Method, a technique to guide participants through releasing emotions stored in their bodies to help reduce stress and anxieties and improve their well-being. She is the founder and CEO of Express & Release Therapeutic Dance, which creates safe spaces for the community to learn to accept their emotions, express them through movement, to release them from the self. She holds a MA in Theology, where she focused on the Euro-American rejection of movement and the body to better understand how we can embrace and embody movement within our American culture. She holds a BA in Recreation and Event Management with a double minor in dance and nonprofit leadership.

She is a dancer with over 15 years of experience learning the benefits of engaging with the body to release, emote, and heal from traumatic and stressful events. She has a dedication and commitment to helping people learn to use dance for self-expression, stress relief, and emotional regulation. Through her workshops, classes, and community engagement she hopes to cultivate healthier societies that foster better relationships with the self and the community. For people to feel empowered to freely express themselves through movement and not feel afraid to feel overwhelming emotions.

Find out more at Express & Release and connect with Gabrielle on Facebook 


  • Why do people tend to reject dance & movement? 4:36
  • Why is movement so important in releasing emotion from the body?  17:35

Why Do People Tend To Reject Dance & Movement?

  • How do we engage with the world through movement and dance?
  • What is your own internal dance?
  • What does it mean to allow your body to have control?
  • Strategies for removing distractions when practicing dance and movement
  • Movement walkthrough

Why Is Movement So Important In Releasing Emotion From The Body?

  • How to engage with trauma in order to remove it from our bodies?
  • What is Express & Release?
  • Utilizing movement to help children express themselves
  • Integrating dance into therapy

Connect With Me

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Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Find out more at Express & Release and connect with Gabrielle on Facebook 

The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel vander Kolk M.D.


Chris McDonald: Do you have clients who struggle to release emotions stored in their body? You don't wanna miss today's episode. I talk with Gabby Rivero and we discuss the power of therapeutic dance and how it can help clients reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve their overall wellbeing. She goes into how she gradually and slowly helps clients to start to embody themselves and get out of their heads and into their bodies.

Let's get to it. This is Holistic Counseling, the podcast for mental health therapists who want to deepen their knowledge of holistic modalities and build their practice with confidence. I'm your host, Chris McDonald, licensed therapist. I am so glad you're here for the journey.

Hey everyone. Welcome to today's episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. Today's guest is Gabby Rivero. She realized dance allows you to slow down, pause. Consciously breathe and feel your skin and move in ways that are not just routine, but are endlessly authentic. She is a dancer with over 15 years of experience learning the benefits of engaging with the body to release, emote and heal from traumatic and stressful events.

She is the founder and c e o of express and release therapeutic dance. But before we get to the interview, do you struggle with self-care listeners? Are you always the last on your to. You are not alone. Many counselors find it difficult. My book, self-Care for the Counselor was written for you. In it, you'll find it jam-packed with holistic strategies.

To help you find balance and renewed energy, go to holistic counseling podcast.com/resources for the link today. And back to our interview. Welcome to the podcast, Gabby. Thanks. I'm

Gabrielle Rivero: glad to be here.

Chris McDonald: Yeah, I'm so excited for this cuz I gotta tell you, I love to dance.

Gabrielle Rivero: That's so awesome. It's actually really interesting.

Most people don't actually like dancing , so I'm glad to hear that someone does. Yes.

Chris McDonald: So can you tell my listeners more about yourself and your work?

Gabrielle Rivero: Yeah. So as already stated, I am a dancer. I've been a dancer for over 15 years, and basically I started all of this because as a dancer I saw how dance was allowing me to process my own trauma process, my own stress.

And about 10 years ago, I, I started a nonprofit. To, um, serve Lo income kids in Florida. And while I was doing the nonprofit, it was a lot of, it was all art based and we were doing a lot of dance in other type of artistic forms. And as the kids were dancing and moving and engaging, each one would come in and say, I just need to be here.

And I had a really rough day and I'm like, do you wanna talk about it? And they'd say, no, I just wanna dance it. I'm like, okay, well you can come dance. And that was a constant language I was hearing. But when we would go and try to do performances in different spaces, we would get rejection from different places where they would say, oh, we don't have space for the dancers, or, oh no, we don't really do that here.

And I started consistently hearing that rejection of dance, rejection of movement throughout cultural spaces, throughout religious spaces. And I started asking the question of, Why are we rejecting? Good question movement. Why are we rejecting dance? So I wouldn't have got a master's degree within the area of theology.

Cause I'm like, I'm pretty sure this all is based in Christianity in some form of religion. So as I started doing this research and started trying to understand and pull apart, What is this rejection of dance throughout our history, throughout our country and and our culturally as well as like physically, why do we have this weird relationship with it?

I started realizing that it wasn't just that we were rejecting dance, it was actually that we were rejecting the body and as we were rejecting the body, we were rejecting emotions and that they were all actually intertwined and. So as I started kind of seeing that thread, that dance wasn't just movement that per se, but it was actually something that was connected to the this body, the mind, and the soul.

Then I started asking the questions of how do we now reengage? those things and began moving as one whole being, using the expression of the self to heal trauma, use expression of the self, to move through the world, to embody the things around us, to process loss, to process grief. And then I started creating spaces that people can do that.


Chris McDonald: you said the rejection of the body and emotion. So does that, is that threatening to some people? ?

Gabrielle Rivero: Yes. ,

Chris McDonald: yes. Yes. Okay. Because I know you mentioned that, I know I said I love to dance, but you said most people don't. Mm-hmm. , so what is that about?

Gabrielle Rivero: Yeah, so I, so as a dancer, you kind of hear a lot of people kind of put dance in this category of there's dancers and there's non-dancers that dances for technique or dances for.

Parties and there's all of these ideas of what dance is created for or meant to be used for. So then we end up having this weird relationship with dance cuz people think, oh, dance is just the sprinkler. Or dance is just ballet or dance is just hip hop. and it's like, well, no, dance is more than all of those things.

Dance is how we engage with the world. Dance is how our bodies internally move. I mean, even the, the Oxford Dictionary definition of dance is how we create movements to a rhythm. So if our bodies internally have this heartbeat, That's beating consistently on it, on its own rhythm. Then our bodies have it, their internal dance.

And as we breathe, as we walk, as we move and engage with the world, we are doing movements to our own rhythm. So technically we are dancing and engaging with life every day, every moment. It's more of trying to figure out how do we find our own internal.

Chris McDonald: Just thinking about that. How do we find our own internal hands?

Yeah. How do we help us ?

Gabrielle Rivero: I mean, I'm trying

Chris McDonald: I know you're, yeah, because there seems to be a lot of blocks, I think with any kind of creative venture. Right. I used to do some art therapy with, um, clients and who adults are. Rough man, , creativity. Once we get to be older, it's a lot more d.

Gabrielle Rivero: Yeah. And, and what I've been seeing is that a lot of it comes with this idea that there's rules, that it's supposed to be done a certain way.

That the, and I mean, that's what even technique has created in dance specifically, is that there's a right way to do art. There's a right way to move the body. And I'm like, no, . Our bodies can move and engage as they wish, as they desire. and it's more of creating spaces that allow people to say, there are no rules here.

You are allowed to move. And engage with your body as it sees fit, where the body gets to be the one in control. And we get to take the posture of listening to it,

Chris McDonald: the body in control. Cause I think you're right, we get stuck up here, don't we, in overthinking it and that self-consciousness, ugh, I don't wanna look stupid or foolish, and many thoughts that that kind of get in the way.

Have you noticed that with people?

Gabrielle Rivero: Yes, constantly. So one thing that I tell in all my classes is that there is no technique there. So before we even start a class, right, we sit together and we create a group covenant where we wanna make sure everyone knows these are the rules we're starting with. There is no technique that all movement is good.

That your bodies were created beautiful and whole, and that there's not a way you're supposed to do it. There's not a right or wrong that there needs to be no shame, that we have to learn how to remove that judgment. And in these spaces I'm like, how can we all together move? How can we all together engage and throw off the.

Throw off the fear of the self fear of what someone else around me will think of me. And one way I try to actually do that is we actually blindfold people sometimes in classes. Oh, interesting. Yeah. So in like some of the techniques, we'll say, Hey, to remove the distraction of the other, for you to focus on the self blindfold yourself.

so you can stay present with you and not think that what someone else is doing is the right answer. Because the way that you engage is beautiful and correct and perfect and you do not have to do what the next person does. This is

Chris McDonald: so empowering. It's so helpful though to think about embodying. Cause I'm thinking Ha cuz I teach yoga in session with clients and you know, some people are have that reluctance too.

Sometimes it is trying to get. Into their bodies, out of their heads, into their, and that can be the challenge cuz people live a lot of times from the shoulders

Gabrielle Rivero: up. Yes. And that's, that is essentially what all the research actually shows throughout history is that as we learned, as, as we grew and as we evolved as a country, essentially, we literally live in the top of our bodies.

We. In the head , and then we do not engage with the arms or the fingers or the feet and we for actually forget that it's even there. We're just like moving and engaging and we talk with our head, we see things with just the head, and then we forget that we're walking with the feet and we forget that our arms can move and engage and that our whole body is actually connected as one.

Whole being. So the first thing we do in like our classes is we learn what is this body and how do we start small and engage with just the fingers. Oh, you just start there. Okay. We start with the fingers. We literally do the top half of the body for the first whole session. The fingers to the wrists, the wrist to the elbow.

The elbow to the shoulder. Can you show me

Chris McDonald: the, the fingers? What do you do? Oh, you're doing the, oh, this is, you can do a moodra

Gabrielle Rivero: with this . Yeah. So, so really, so we're actually, while we're doing it, we're laying down on the floor and we start by just breathing. So our whole thing is we start by breath.

Mm-hmm. , and we lay and we let the body come to a state of rest. . And as the body rests, we eventually start inviting each small part back into the body. Mm-hmm. . So we start with the fingers and then we move and introduce the wrists. And as we do it, I call it a safe practice where we're asking the questions of what do we see?

As we move and engage the fingers, what is the fingers associate with? So when you move the fingers, what else connects? Does my wrist connect to the fingers? And as we keep doing it, we start asking questions of what is it? What do we feel when we move the fingers? Do we feel uncomfortable? And then as we keep engaging, we start asking question of how do we explore?

How do we create with the fingers? Can the cri fingers create circles?

Chris McDonald: Can the fingers, and for those listening that you can't see her. So , she's, she's, uh, actually this is a yoga move too that we can use with a sound. Satan Nama. Mm-hmm. . But it's using the forefinger and the thumb touching, and then middle finger.

Thumb, and then ring finger, and then pinky finger. And so you just go, just

Gabrielle Rivero: keep going. And, and then we keep just kind of playing with that. So we'll start grabbing the air. We'll start touching the space around. We'll touch the ground and then we go from the fingers and we go to the wrist and we do this slow body warmup every class, kind of reminding the brain that the whole body's connected.

So we do the wrist and we do the same safe practice. We start with what do we see when we do the wrist and when we ask what we see. Sometimes that's what images pop up. Maybe there was a pass entry on the. And you're reminded of that injury, maybe when you move the fingers, you see yourself holding a hand with someone else.

So we're asking what images are popping up as you're moving? What colors do you see as you're moving? What are you feeling and how does the wrist, um, and you guys can't see me, but I'm moving that wrist. But how does the wrist connect to the rest of the body? Is the risk connected to the elbow? Is the risk connected to the fingers?

And how does the wrist create, can the. Move separately or can the wrist move together? And we literally go from peace to peace of the body as just our very first practice. And it's been interesting as we do that cuz almost every person that does it, they're like, I forgot. that

Chris McDonald: I have this body, that disconnection.

Gabrielle Rivero: Yeah. Everyone starts seeing that they've been so deeply disconnected from themselves, where at some point we even get to the stomach and I ask the question of how does the stomach engage? How do you feel full? How does the stomach feel when it's empty? and people really are like, whoa. My stomach, I've, I honestly have not thought about the stomach as a part, being a part of the whole system and that the stomach can be a move, can create, can be more than just the place of food , but be a part of our bodies as.

Being a part that can engage with everything else. So it's actually really cool. It's a lot of fun doing it. That

Chris McDonald: sounds like it. Can we just rewind for a second? I just wanted to know, how did you find dance? So you've done it for a long time.

Gabrielle Rivero: Yes, great question. How did I find dance? So I found dance. My family is Caribbean, we're Bahamian.

So dance was kind of a part of our culture in a way. So we kind of always engage with the practice and then, I was also grew up in a very religious hope to the point that dance was something that we could do in parties or in social settings with just the family, but very much rejected in other spaces and other contexts.

So my mother and my, my parents essentially said, okay, you can dance on this one hip hop team that's a part of this church setting. So I was like, Cool. I'll start there. So I tried that and as I was doing that, while I was enjoying it, other people in my family were very much like, no, this is bad. This is evil.

You're not allowed to move and engage with the body in this way. So my response actually was to say, well, if it is evil and if it is bad, if that statement is true, how can we change that? How can we. Start relearning different ways to use dance in ways that are not just technique and ways that are not just in the routine, but in ways to engage with it in everyday modalities.

And that's actually how this whole thing started, how my dance journey started. So then I went out to LA for a few years. And I ended up training in LA with Athletic Garage Dance Center. I was one of their scholarship students and kind of trained in all of the styles of dance, ballet, jazz, hiphop. I have a, what is it,

I have a minor. Yeah, I have a minor in dance. Oh, okay. Got it. A minor dance. Study dance in modern and West African. And so I, I kind of then kind of just went deep dive into the practice and in the art form, just trying to understand it from all angles of what is it culturally, what is it historically?

Just cuz for me it was such a great tool of like trying to process my own family trauma, my own childhood trauma. But then I was like, well then how do I give that to someone else? , how do I take it from just me? and, and the funny thing is I thought other people were doing it that way. I thought other dancers were also all dancing and engaging and dancing that way.

And over time people started saying, I don't do that when I dance. I was like, wait, you don't like, no, I don't connect. Those things when I dance was like, I just movement. I'm like, wait, how do you just do movement? But you have, you don't process like loss when you're moving. They're like, no, how do you do that?

How do you do that? Whoa, okay, well let's figure this out. And that's actually how like so much of my own day journey has be, has been, has been me just. Using all these tools for my own life. And then people just saying, wait, how do you do that? How, how does that happen? And I'm like, wait, how do you guys not know this?

Oh wait, let me actually start teaching people these things because therapeutic dance, like I I, and sometimes I'm like, I feel like I'm kind of creating this whole area of therapeutic dance cuz it really doesn't fully exist. I mean, we have dance therapy and dance therapy is great and it's. Form of therapy, but therapeutic dance is just using dance as it is without talk therapy, without anything else, but using movement to heal, to process, to engage with the emotions and the body that's out outside of just doing technique learning, dance moves.

Chris McDonald: So it sounds like you learned on your own just somehow, huh? Yeah. , I think with all the training and background, but then something, something came through for you, didn't it? You made some connections.

Gabrielle Rivero: Yeah, a lot and, and I've been at therapy for years, so I think a lot of it was just, Intuitively it started just making sense and then I was able to kind of just keep putting all the pieces together and being able to get some research in and I'm like, okay, all of these things do connect and do add up.

Chris McDonald: So why is movement so important in releasing emotion from the body?

Gabrielle Rivero: Great question. . Well, I would argue that, so the book, the Body Keeps the Score. It's been, this has profound impact on the area of psychology and just in general, but the idea that the body is holding trauma and the body is holding sensations.

If we can agree that that's where the body's holding these things, then the only way to really get them out is to actually engage with them with the body and move. Those things through the body, and part of that is gaining control over those sensations and trauma that's inside of you. So currently, and I'd say peop tell people, you know, we end up just walking around and kind of have like these, I call 'em, boils all over our bodies, where maybe it's a past frustration or an emotion and it just kind of stays there and it just kind of gets bigger and bigger.

But we don't ever address them. So eventually either. Try to find other ways, whether we self-medicate. We find a way to kind of release that stress, release all those spoils or, or, or injuries all over our bodies, or we can find movement to move them around that we can actually start addressing each one.

Taking note that they're there. and then as we take note that they're there, then moving them through us and if desired, moving them outta us. But it's just the whole process. I mean, we can't actually release anything until we can accept that we have those things, and then once we accept we have them, then it's how do we express them?

How do we create spaces for us to move and express that the. So, I

Chris McDonald: know you mentioned starting with the fingers and breath, and so what is a class like for you when you're teaching a class? What, what is it

Gabrielle Rivero: like? Yeah, so essentially I do classes in six week series. I basically set it up that the first two weeks is to learn how to accept.

The body, accept the sensations, accept the emotions within the body. Then the next two weeks, I spended that time teaching techniques on how to express those things. So some of those techniques might meet a group. So people re I really like this class. It's a group dance class essentially. So what we do is we'll create, we'll take a positive emotion and a negative emotion, and we'll create a dance piece together.

With that emotion. So we basically go around the room and we ask each person, if the emotion is anger, we'll say, Hey, how do you express anger? And the person will say, I go, ha. And we're like, okay. And we go to the next one. We say, okay, how do you express anger? And they're like, I stomp my feet. And then we connect the ah to the stomp the feet, and we go to the next person, how do you express it?

And they might say, I throw my hands in the air. So we go, ha, stomp the feet, throw their hands in the air, and we create a whole. Where everyone gets to show their expression and then we do it for a positive one as well. And, and, and when we do the expression type movements, it's been interesting to watch people kind of find healing in just showing how they express.

And then our last two weeks is then the release. So the last two weeks we do techniques on how do we now, we now know we have these sensations in, in these emotions. We now have expressed them. How do we now let some of them go? So the very last class was we then engage with the voice. So we move in this space and we.

Talk and move as one thing. . So usually it's people are kind of confused over at the first class. Cause the very first step is just walking around the room and naming the things that we see as we walk. And then we give those different things that we've named as we walked around the room the first time, A movement.

So if we see a, a ceiling, we'll say, say, you know, ceiling will give ceiling a movement. And then the next time we kind of keep building on it, that we then add in emotion. So we'll walk on the room and just say emotion. and then the next time we'll do it, we'll add in an emo emotion, a movement for that emotion.

So if we see, if we wanna say anger, then we'll do a emotion for anger. Or if it's sadness, we'll show that with an a, a movement for sadness. And it's interesting doing that cuz it then with the voice being added with as a voice is essentially the breath we're now releasing. through the voice and with the body all at the same time.

So we set it up like that. First two weeks of accept, second two weeks of express, and the last two weeks is release.

Chris McDonald: I can tell you're very intuitive and you have this intelligence too about emotion that a lot of therapists, we train for this and have to learn in school, but I feel like you just for somehow you have this openness about it and have learned all these great skills and it just sounds like it would be so helpful for so many clients to engage in these physical practices.

Gabrielle Rivero: Yeah, I, I do think maybe part of the reason why I have, I don't know, intuition, what do you wanna call it, . I'm like, I think I, I've gone to therapy for years and I, so much of my own childhood, my own background was just so traumatic that I was trying to find ways to understand it, trying to find ways to connect what happened, connect what went wrong, connect what I felt, but I couldn't, didn't know how to say, and then I was using movement the whole time.

In the process of me trying to heal from my own trauma, and even my therapist talks to me all the time and I still go to my therapist. I think my therapist is amazing. Love Therapy, , and, and, and I talk to my therapist about all the things that I'm doing. So much of what she says is, she's like, you know, as a therapist, I'm trained in understanding the mind, but I don't fully understand the body.

And she's like, and with your own research and kind of with using the body through movement, you're able to connect the body. and then maybe you have a natural intuition that you were able to just combine the two together. And I'm like, maybe that's what happened. I dunno, , but I, I'm like, I could see it, I could see how, you know, both things kind of just mesh.

So the emotions and, and I have kids, right? So I am all about trying to help my kids be emotionally stable people one day. And currently I have toddlers, which they're probably the. Emotional, right? . So, so much of all of this has been like, how do I help my kids learn to express themselves, learn to process these emotions, learn to not run from them, but embrace them, acknowledge that they're there, move through them, and then.

Let them go. I know you

Chris McDonald: mentioned on your website about you did something with your, what, three-year-old was that right? So tell, can you just share that story?

Gabrielle Rivero: Yeah. So . Yep. So all of this actually started, like the actual business part started because. Last year, last spring, I have two kids, um, now he's five.

At that point he was four. And one afternoon we got home from school and he was just having a really hard time, just like, and sometimes like in our house, we're very much emotion like. Minded, emotionally minded. So we have crying chairs in our home where you can go and like calm down a crying chair. We like try to do all these things to like find ways like for kids to express themselves.

But this specific day, he was just having a really hard time and I'm like, okay, kiddo, go to your crying chair. Like, it's okay. Process there. Come back when you're ready. And I just kind of walked away from the situation. and then maybe like five minutes later and I'm like, I walked outside to get the mail and coming back in and I hear someone just screaming and I'm like, whoa, what is happening?

And I hear him screaming. I hear like my other child just kind of like hiding in the corner and I'm like, okay, we have now hit full blown, like loss of control. Let me see what's going on. So I walk inside and I can see him. Like he's just, he's fully enraged, fully out of control, and I have this moment where I'm like, I can tell him his anger's bad and I can scold him for doing this, but all he's going to learn is that he can't express his anger if I show him that.

That I'm repeating the same cycle. How can I instead show him that his anger's not bad? It just has to be expressed in safe ways. So I just like in that moment, just kinda stopped and was like, okay, I'm a dancer. I'm doing all these things. I've been doing all this research for all this time. Let's put into action.

So outta nowhere just pops in my mind. I just say, take off the anger from your. And he just like stops. And he is like, what? And I'm like, yeah. I said It. Take off the anger from your head. And he just starts and you can't see me. But I'm like, he's like taking the anger from his head. So I'm like, okay, okay, now remove it from your shoulders.

And he just starts physically trying to remove it from his shoulders. So I'm like, okay. And he's like doing it awkwardly. He's so confused what I'm saying. And I'm like, okay. Now from the stomach, He is like from my stomach. Then I'm like now from the hips and I keep going and by the time I got to like the knees, he was like fully in it.

Like, he was like, okay, releasing from my knees, I'm here. And, and it was interesting cause well we got to the feet by that point and he was just fully un abandoned movement. He has no technique. He had. Anything that told him, you're supposed to dance like this. But he had beautiful lines. He had perfect form and he just was letting himself go.

And I was watching him and I'm like, oh my gosh, it doesn't have to be anything more than just this. And after he does his whole thing and he's like, he finishes and he is throwing himself across the room and throwing himself on the floor, and he stands up and I'm like, Hey, how you feeling? He's like, oh, I feel good.

I'm like, so what? What was going on? He was like, oh, my head was hurting. Okay, well we can help you with that. And he's like, yeah, that sounds great, mommy. Yeah, yeah. Next time we can just start with that. But I mean, if you can't start with that, that's okay. We can do the whole process again. And he is like, sounds good.

And then after that, the next day I was so annoyed by something and I'm like, so he's like in the kitchen. I'm like, huh? And he's like, mommy, what's wrong? I was like, I dunno. I'm just so frustrated. He looks at me and he's like, Dance it out. I was like, like, oh man. Ok. Lemme go.

Chris McDonald: What a beautiful teaching moment that you gave him.

Right? What a gift. It's just too bad. More people didn't have that kind of gift. Right. With anger. Yeah. Wow. To be able to release that in the moment and to put it into a positive, back to emotional regulation, that's just, that's so

Gabrielle Rivero: powerful. It it, it really was just this moment that for me, I was like, oh my gosh, like, , how do we give this to everybody else?

Yeah. Oh, how do we offer this to kids everywhere that they have that opportunity to stop and just. Take it off like

Chris McDonald: just like I know. Feel like taking it off my shoulders right now. , I'm wiping my shoulders. , right? I mean, pictures like of anger on his head, he's just like, I'm gonna take it off . But to me it's almost energetic.

Cause we have an energetic body, we got a physical body. So I think some of that is energetic too. Taking that anger right in both of our bodies and powerful. So I know on your website you talk about working with therapists. So have you partnered with therapists before?

Gabrielle Rivero: Yes. So all the stuff that I do is, um, really intense emotional work.

and I, as you guys already know, like I'm not a trained therapist, so I'm very much like, Hey, how do we make sure that things stay contained in this space? How do you make sure that this stays safe for you? So my first workshop, I had a therapist in the space with me, , and we did it together and we were like tag teaming one by one of, okay.

Making sure that no one kind of gets overwhelmed or overloaded. If they do, here's steps to kind of bring them back down. So that was a great experience for the first one. And then this past workshop I did, actually did it in a community of therapists. So it was actually housed in. Radical healing space where there're therapists everywhere, all around.

So at any point if anyone ever felt overwhelmed or overloaded, it's like, Hey, here's this, here's the funnel. . Go to a therapist, talk more about them. And actually, in the classes, a lot of therapists, um, actually will refer their clients. So a lot of my last session was a lot of people that were like, my therapist, I'm gonna be here.

and what I actually do in the classes is when we have our times to journal, I'll actually tell 'em, okay, journal things like journal your process and then bring that journal to therapy and talk through what came up for you. Talk through what colors you saw, talk through what felt weird or uncomfortable.

So that you now have another tool in your session that you're not just like, oh, I feel weird in my body. It's now like, Hey, I feel weird in these specific ways, and I felt it when I did the specific thing. So you combine

Chris McDonald: the language with the body too. So I love, you're so holistic. You're perfect for this podcast too.

So what's a takeaway you could share today for any therapist who might be listening that have never used any kind of movement or dance with clients, what would you like to tell

Gabrielle Rivero: them? I think for the therapists that have never used this stuff, I would say that maybe they haven't used it before or they're interested in using it in the future.

I would say the big thing with all of this type of work with, especially therapeutic dance specifically, is to make sure in everything that we do with the body specifically, is that we continue to offer radical compassion and acceptance for the self and especially for the clients. So one big thing is that every time we start a session, every time we enter into the space of movement, we have so much shame.

We have so much fear with the. And just creating that language and, and, and offering that language of the body is beautiful. The body is whole, and the body is perfect. Engaging with the body can be scary. But breaking down that barrier of reminding the, the, the client reminding the, the person that you're moving with or engaging with the body with, that their bodies are perfect as they are.

That there is no right way, there is no wrong way, but whatever they do is the perfect way. And that'd be the thing I would probably offer. Yeah. That's

Chris McDonald: beautiful. What's the best way for listeners to find you and learn more about you?

Gabrielle Rivero: Yeah, so you, you guys can find me@expressandrelease.com. That's a n, not at and , but, and I'll say it again.

Express n release.com. Um, and we'll have that in the show

Chris McDonald: notes

too, .

Gabrielle Rivero: Okay, great. Also, I'm on Facebook and Instagram at Express and release. And then, Yeah, you can find me at, I'm gonna start our next workshop series. We'll start at May 6th or May 7th on the Sunday. That'll be our next one. We'll have one for kids for ages four to 12, and it's one for adults.

Uh uh, gentle Movement Workshop 1 0 1 and 1 0 2, and I'm excited that you guys. Wanted to hear from me, .

Chris McDonald: Yes. Well, thank you for coming on the podcast, Gabby.

Gabrielle Rivero: Yes. Thank you so much for Yeah. Inviting me and wanting to hear my story and yeah, of course. Oh my Dan Smith,

Chris McDonald: of course. And that brings us to the end of another episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast.

If you haven't grabbed your copy of Self-Care for the Counselor. Do yourself a favor and get it today. Remember to go to my website and click on the resources page for the link. And again, this is Chris McDonald's sending each one of you much light in love. Till next time, take care.

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Self-Care for the Counselor - a holistic guide for helping professionals by Christine McDonald , MS,NCC,LPCS