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Mrs Tarana Khatri

Tarana Khatri is a DHA-licensed Counseling Psychologist and a Registered Practicing Member with the Association of Dance Movement Psychotherapy (ADMP, UK). She has been an active part of the field of Mental Health for the last 8 Years.

In this time, she has been an advocate for accessibility to mental health services and ethical mental health practice. She has played a critical role in establishing Creative Arts Therapy in India through policy building, training, publications and conference presentations. In her professional practice, she has worked with Adults with Anxiety and Mood disorders and Neurodiverse children and adults (ASD, ADHD, Dyslexia and other neurodevelopmental challenges). She has been an educator in the field for the last 4 years. She is a visiting faculty for the PG Diploma in Expressive Arts Therapy, St. Xavier’s College (Mumbai) and has taught on other certificate courses across the country.

She is the Co-founder of Synchrony, a Creative Arts Therapy organization and a Founding member of Indian Association of Dance Movement Therapy (IADMT). She is currently on the Education and Training Committee of IADMT .She is also an Ethics Committee Member of ADMP(UK). She founded Horizon Therapy Centre (India) that focused on integration of creative modalities into therapeutic interventions. She has been working in Dubai since 2020 and is currently working at Somerset Clinic Dubai as a Counseling Psychologist and as a School Counselor at Safa British School. She aims to build awareness in the field of Dance Movement Psychotherapy in the UAE.

Understanding Embodied Resilience in the Neurodiverse Community




● Introduction to role of body in therapeutic spaces ( Dance Movement Psychotherapy)

● Understanding Embodied resilience within neurodiverse community

● Assimilation of creative approach in already existing therapeutic frameworks.


Resilience is often referred to as the processes adapted by individuals to cope with adversity, stress and trauma. A person's ability and pattern of resilience is based on an integration of cognitive , emotional , social and physical domains of the self and their interaction with the environment.

An Embodied approach to resilience would focus on a bottom -up understanding of the process (Tsachor and shafir 2017). Neuropsychological research has supported an existing belief of the role of kinetic, facial and postural impact on emotional experiences. Many fields have supported this connection namely Sensory experiencing (Levine et al 2015), Polyvagal theory (Porges and Dana 2018) and Dance Movement Psychotherapy (Tortora 2006).

Our experiences are defined by perceived understanding of our bodies' engagement with the environment (Tortora 2006). Our bodies are designed to read physiological signals that facilitate an appropriate response chain. In perceived threatening situations, these signals form an alarm system calling the body to action to create a sense of safety and stability. These actions are what we observe as an individual's pattern of resilience.

Neurodiversity refers to variations in cognitive and emotional processes that do not conform to what is perceived as ‘typical’ styles of being. This often includes individuals with ASD, ADD,ADHD and Learning difficulties (Hendrickx 2010). Individuals from this community perceive stress and adversity very differently from neurotypicals. Stress is chronically present in everyday life within social interaction, work/school performance and emotional regulation. The varied neurological pathways process the information from internal and external receptors differently. Strengthening internal receptors while supporting the development of healthy external protective factors can help build healthy patterns of coping in these individuals. Resilience within this population facilitates an effective form of living that gives them the opportunity to maximize their potential.

This presentation aims to focus on the somatic approach drawn from Dance Movement Psychotherapy and the polyvagal theory when working on building resilience in the Neurodiverse population. This approach combines the interoceptive, proprioceptive and kinesthetic experience of the individual to supplement awareness and learning. Verbal discussion helps cognitively integrate this learning and transfer it into day to day life. The reduced dependence on verbalisation offers comfort to neurodiverse individuals for whom language is limited or challenging.


Aranda.k, Zeeman.L, Scholes.J and Santa maria Morales.A. (2012). The resilient subject: Exploring subjectivity, identity and the body in narratives of resilience. Health ,16(5) 548–563.

Hendrickx.S. (2010). The Adolescent and Adult Neuro-diversity Handbook: Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and Related Conditions. Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Payne, P., Levine, P. A., & Crane-Godreau, M. A. (2015). Somatic experiencing: using interoception and proprioception as core elements of trauma therapy. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 93.

Porges S.W. and Dana.D (2018). Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies. New York: WW Norton.

Tortora.S.( 2006) The Dancing Dialogue: Using the Communicative Power of Movement with Young Children. Paul H Brookes Pub Co.

Tsachor Rachelle P., Shafir Tal (2017). A Somatic Movement Approach to Fostering Emotional Resiliency through Laban Movement Analysis. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience , 11, ISSN=1662-5161 .

Session Breakdown:

● 0-45 min - Intro to DMP - Theory and experiential

- What is DMP?

- Role of creativity and body in therapeutic spaces

● 45 min to 80 min - Embodied resilience in Neurodiverse -Theory

- Who makes up the Neurodiverse community?

- Identifying needs of resilience specific to this community

- Role of body in understanding challenges and coping

● 80 min to 95 min - Break

● 95 min to 140 min - Creative approach to developing resilience - Experiential

● 140 min to 170 min - Case study discussion

● 170 min to 180 min - Closing - Cultural community circle

(There will be space for Q & A within each section)

No. of Participants:

Upper limit - 30 people

Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing that allows for flexibility of movement.

Mrs Tarana Khatri
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