Expressing Disorder: Journey to Recovery

Expressing Disorder- Journey to Recovery Image“Expressing Disorder: Journey to Recovery” was once but a vision for filmmaker David Alvarado, who sought to instill hope for sufferers of eating disorders and their loved ones.

Following this vision, he brought to life a unique and touching documentary that features eating disorder recovery stories utilizing two creative arts therapies Dance/Movement Therapy and Drama Therapy.

The film is introduced by Anita Johnston, author of the iconic book, Eating by the Light of the Moon. Her words immediately engage the watcher, explaining that the arts provide opportunities for women with eating disorders to express themselves, as words alone are often not enough.

This 40-minute documentary features the work of Susan Kleinman, a dance/movement therapist, and Carol Dietrich, a drama therapist. The stories are divided into two episodes.

Episode One includes footage of group and individual dance/movement therapy moments and captures the touching relational atmosphere that takes place within the backdrop of the scenic beauty of a South Florida facility where filming took place.

A former patient returns to the facility to share her recovery and verbalizes how and why her dance/movement therapy treatment was so beneficial. She acknowledges the importance of giving ongoing attention to the process of sustaining her recovery.

Episode Two was filmed in Northern California over a period of 12 weeks. This episode demonstrates the power of drama therapy through the treatment process, as it follows three women in an outpatient setting.

Expressing Disorder- Journey to Recovery Image 2The film comes to life as it demonstrates a session in which each of the women creates masks of their eating disorder – One representing a critic and one representing recovery.

The women return a year later to speak about life in recovery and the influence of drama therapy on their recovery process.

This film may be particularly meaningful for patients and their families and also serves as a wonderful teaching tool for professionals, students and interns.

 Watch The Film Now


Alvarado, D. (Director). (2012). “Expressing Disorder: Journey to Recovery” [Motion picture on DVD]. United States of America.

About the Author:

Carol Dietrich has specialized in treating eating disorders and co-occurring mood and substance use disorders for 20 years in hospital and community-based PHP and IOP programs. She is the former Program and Clinical Director for two San Francisco Bay Area eating disorder treatment programs.

She has presented her work at several local and national conferences. She provides training workshops to various treatment centers on the use of experiential methods to facilitate healing and recovery. Her work is featured in the documentary “Expressing Disorder: Journey to Recovery” and her video “Unveiling the Hidden Self: Hope and Healing through Drama Therapy” outlines her Five-Step process of using masks to assist individuals in separating from their eating disorder critic and integrating a compassionate voice of recovery. She sees individuals and facilitates a Binge Eating Disorder support group in her San Luis Obispo, CA practice.

Susan Kleinman, MA, DMT-BC, NCC CEDS a board-certified Dance/Movement Therapist, National Certified Counselor and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist, is Creative Arts Therapies Supervisor and Dance/Movement Therapist for The Renfrew Center. Ms. Kleinman is a trustee of the Marian Chace Foundation, Past President of the American Dance Therapy Association, and a past Chair of The National Coalition for Creative Arts Therapies.

She has published extensively and presented widely. She was the Sierra Tucson’s 2012″Gratitude for Giving” honoree, the recipient of the American Dance Therapy Association’s 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award and The International Association of Eating Disorders Professional’s 2014 Spirit of iaedp Award. Her work is featured in the documentary entitled “Expressing Disorder: Journey to Recovery”

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on December 6, 2018.
Reviewed & Approved on December 6, 2018 by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

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About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.