Erica Hornthal, is the CEO of Chicago Dance Therapy, a holistic psychotherapy practice that utilizes the mind-body connection, non-verbal communication, and body language within the therapeutic environment. As a licensed clinical professional counselor and dance/movement therapist, Erica is passionate about helping people find the mind-body connection in order to become the best version of themselves. Erica truly believes that movement matters for all aspects of our lives; social, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Read our interview with the lovely Erica below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I saw a need in our community to offer this specialized form of psychotherapy. There are so many misconceptions about the field of dance/movement therapy, but without exposure, people will never know all of its benefits.
Tell us about your business.
Chicago Dance Therapy is the premier dance/movement therapy practice in Chicago. It provides services to all ages and abilities and prides itself on helping individuals with compromised language and cognitive abilities to fully be heard, validated, and accepted for who they are.
I am a board certified dance/movement therapist (BC-DMT) and licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC).
Where is your business based?
It is a mobile business in many ways and services all of Chicagoland.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I made business cards with my basic contact information and started networking as much as possible. I reconnected with colleagues and former employers to let them know that I was starting this endeavor and to spread the word.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Getting in front of an audience, whether it’s for a workshop, guest blog, or TV spot, has been the most effective way to let people know what dance/movement therapy is about. Breaking down the stigmas of mental health and of the creative arts therapies is a big issue and the more we can mainstream the idea of self-care and behavioral health, the more we will see people reach out and ask for help.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
The misconceptions of the field have been the largest challenge. People assume that dance/movement therapy means you have to be a dancer or love dancing, when in fact it has nothing to do with dancing abilities or even coordination. Everyone moves all the time, through breath and eye contact, we all have our own innate rhythm. Maya Angelou said, “Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.”
How did you overcome these challenges?
I have not overcome them, but merely not allowed those challenges to stop me from pressing on. I know that we have the ability to help individuals who have reached a plateau in their psychotherapy, a way for people to understand themselves more than they thought possible, and a way to find calm and grounding when everything around them seems everything but. The hope and proof from the work keeps me going.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My clients ultimately are what keep me motivated. Seeing people embrace change emotionally and physically is inspiring and validating to the existence of the company and the work.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
The fact that I decided to put “dance therapy” in the business name is what distinguishes me and the company from other therapists. Again, it’s about brand and field awareness and exposure.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Fake it ‘til you make it” or more recently “Fake it until you become it.” We are often our own worst enemies and get in the way of our own success. Believe that it’s possible and live as though it already is.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
When you are on your destined path, the universe reveals people and opportunities beyond your wildest imagination. Stay true to your passion and it will reward you in ways you never thought possible.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
My favorite business tool is the business card. Never underestimate the value that piece of paper has. Always keep one with you because you never know who you will meet.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Twitter @CHIDanceTherapy and @EricaHornthal
Facebook Erica Hornthal and Chicago Dance Therapy
Hashtags #movementmatters #dancetherapyworks #dancetherapy
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“The Pristine Mind” by Orgyen Chowang.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m always educating myself on marketing and social media.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goals are to continue to expose mainstream society to dance/movement therapy and to continue to provide services to people who need them.