Elise Risher

Director, Dance/Movement Therapy Program

BA, Trinity College. MS, Hunter College. MA, PhD, Long Island University. Board-certified dance/movement therapist, licensed clinical psychologist. Twenty five years of clinical experience working in both psychiatric and community settings with infants, children, and adults. Taught at Mercy College, Westchester Community College, Long Island University, and The New School. Research interests include the impact of neurological disorders on time perception and the intersection of psychotherapy and Eastern philosophies. SLC, 2012–

Graduate Courses 2021-2022

MS Dance/Movement Therapy

Clinical Internship Practicum I

Graduate Seminar—Fall

This course uses a group-supervision format to support and develop the internship experience. Through the sharing of experiences from their individual internship settings, students will explore a variety of topics—such as professionalism, supervision, working in an interdisciplinary team, problem-solving in the workplace, countertransference, and kinesthetic empathy—as a way of bridging theory and practice. Through group discussion, movement experientials, weekly logs, and in-class presentations, students will continue to practice their therapeutic skills and deepen their understanding of dance/movement therapy.

Faculty

Clinical Internship Practicum II

Graduate Seminar—Spring

This course is a continuation of Clinical Practicum I. Students will continue to deepen their comprehension of dance/movement therapy theory, as well as to expand and hone their clinical skills. Through the sharing of real-life experiences from their internship settings, students will continue to explore topics such as professionalism, supervision, transference, countertransference, and kinesthetic empathy, thus bridging theory and practice. Through group discussion, movement experientials, written papers, and in-class presentations, students will continue to practice their therapeutic skills and deepen their understanding of dance/movement therapy.

Faculty

Graduate Thesis I

Thesis—Fall

Each student in the dance/movement therapy program is required to complete a thesis project. The thesis provides the opportunity to integrate, using research methods, theory from multiple disciplines, existing literature in dance/movement therapy, and personal experience. This course will offer students the structure to apply what they have learned in the Research Methods course toward developing their own research project, with the goal of completing and submitting a research prospectus and outline. Group support, consultation, and technical assistance will be provided in class.

Faculty

Graduate Thesis II

Thesis—Spring

Group support, consultation, and technical assistance will be provided in this class for students who will be working with their thesis advisors and second readers to continue the work begun in Graduate Thesis I and complete their final thesis project.

Faculty

Human Growth and Development

Graduate Seminar—Fall

In this course, students will expand their knowledge of the basic theories, methods, concepts, and clinical applications learned in Group Work Theory and Practice I. We will explore the core elements of systems approaches to groupwork theory and dance/movement therapy clinical practice. Specifically, we will examine the contributions of Monica McGoldrick’s influential work concerning ethnocultural aspects affecting families, including the impact of race, class, religion, historical factors, and migration experiences and attitudes about sexual orientation and intermarriage. Other theoretical models will include the relational-cultural paradigm developed at the Stone Center’s Jean Baker Miller Training Institute and the principles of resilience theory that emerged from the research of Dr. Emmy Werner. These models have implications for the development of therapeutic interventions and will inform our study of the clinical roles and skills needed for the effective practice of dance/movement therapy group work with children, adolescents, and families in various clinical settings.

Faculty

Research Methods

Graduate Seminar—Spring

This course is an introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and techniques. Students will learn to apply research techniques, such as data collection and analysis, both as researchers and to enhance clinical interpretation and practice skills. We will explore issues around the importance of research to the field of dance/movement therapy, particular challenges and opportunities associated with dance/movement therapy research, and the history of research in the field. While this course will provide a base of knowledge for the practicing dance/movement therapist to interpret and evaluate research, the goal is to create not only consumers but also creators of research. As such, students will learn about the process of research design, including ethical and legal considerations, and will create their own research project.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Dance/Movement Therapy

Clinical Internship Practicum II

Graduate Seminar—Spring

This course serves as a continuation of Clinical Internship Practicum I and will use a supportive group supervision format to oversee and develop the internship experience by strengthening clinical appraisal skills and movement and observation assessment through oral presentation of cases, along with written diagnostic evaluations that will include the student’s clinical process and interventions. Academic content related to assessment, diagnosis, interventions, and the supervision process, including the therapeutic termination process, will be fluid within the overall structure of the course and weekly classes in order to meet specific needs of each internship setting.

Faculty

Graduate Thesis I

Thesis—Fall

Each student in the Dance/Movement Therapy program is required to complete a thesis project. The thesis provides the opportunity to integrate theory from multiple disciplines, existing literature in dance/movement therapy and personal experience using research methods. This course will offer students the structure to apply what they have learned in the Research Methods course toward developing their own research project, with the goal of completing and submitting a research prospectus and outline. Group support, consultation and technical assistance will be provided in the class.

Faculty

Graduate Thesis II

Thesis—Spring

Group support, consultation and technical assistance will be provided for this class for students who will be working with their thesis advisors and second readers to complete the final thesis project and continue the work begun in Thesis I.

Faculty

Human Growth and Development

Graduate Seminar—Fall

This course will outline the interrelationships between physiological, psychological, cognitive and socio-cultural factors and their effects on human growth, development and behavior. Students will gain a basic knowledge of brain development and neuroscience, as they relate to the theory and practice of dance/movement therapy.

The course covers selected theoretical and empirical contributions to the study of human development throughout the lifespan. The course considers the nature of psychological development in childhood and adolescence and pays attention to developmental implications for adulthood and old age. There is a careful analysis of developmental theories, with an emphasis on research findings and methods as reported in the current literature. We will also be examining writings on attachment and contemporary psychodynamic theory, which emphasize the importance of early experience. These theories offer a particular focus on early relationships and their role in shaping an individual’s ways of being and knowing, of regulating affect, and of developing and maintaining crucial ties to others throughout life. They also provide a framework for incorporating recent advances in the study of the brain. The overarching goal of the course is to provide students with a general understanding of the current state of knowledge in various areas of psychological development.

Faculty

Psychopathology

Graduate Seminar—Spring

This course is designed to provide students with a base of knowledge in psychopathology and to familiarize students with current conceptions and empirical findings in psychopathology research. Beginning with the question of how abnormality is defined, we will explore contemporary perspectives on psychopathology and focus more specifically on psychological disorders, their development and treatment, and controversies within the field. Additionally, this course will focus on the physiologic and motoric manifestations of illness, the role of dance/movement therapy in treatment, and challenges particular to dance/movement therapy intervention.

This course will use the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5. Reading of the current manual will include discussion of recent changes and the impact on diagnostic understanding and treatment formulation.

Faculty

Research Methods

Graduate Seminar—Spring

This course is an introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and techniques. Students will learn to apply research techniques such as data collection and analysis, both as researchers and to enhance clinical interpretation and practice skills. We will explore issues around the importance of research to the field of dance/movement therapy, particular challenges and opportunities associated with dance/movement therapy research, and the history of research in the field. While this course will provide a base of knowledge for the practicing dance/movement therapist to interpret and evaluate research, the goal is to create not only consumers but also creators of research. As such, students will learn about the process of research design, including ethical and legal considerations, and will create their own research proposal.

Faculty