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Nalini Prakash, PhD(c), BC-DMT, CMA

Contact Information

Nalini Prakash


Assistant Clinical Professor

Creative Arts Therapies Department

Nalini Prakash, PhD, BC-DMT, CMA, graduated with a master’s degree in dance/movement therapy from Drexel University and a master’s in performing arts from Maharaja Sayajirao University. She is also a certified movement analyst from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, New York. Her past clinical experience includes working at Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Washington DC with chronically mentally ill individuals in the criminal justice system. Nalini contributed to violence prevention initiatives at the hospital to decrease incidents of violence and the use of seclusion and restraints. Her strong focus on social justice motivated her to work with patient advocates at the hospital to provide equitable and accessible treatment, and to foster social change.

Nalini is currently an assistant clinical professor and PhD candidate in the Creative Arts Therapies Department at Drexel University. Her role as an educator is to create a rich relational learning environment that is informed by all participants’ narratives, histories, and experiences facilitating dialogue that is informed by diverse and multicultural ways of exchange. Through her doctoral dissertation, Nalini is studying the impact of dance/movement therapy on empathy, peer relationships and cultural self-efficacy in the context of ethnic bullying in middle schools. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Marian Chace Foundation of the American Dance Therapy Association for her dissertation. She has also served as a study coordinator for Dr. Minjung Shim in the Mind-Body Movement Research for Whole Person Health lab. Nalini has presented her scholarship at regional, national and international conferences. She is a member of the Committee on Approval at the American Dance Therapy Association and an Advisory Board Member for the Creative Movement Therapy Association of India. Nalini’s interest in the positive impact of dance stems from her longstanding practice and theoretical study of South Indian dance, Bharatanatyam. She continues to explore its multicultural capacity for developing individuals and communities through teaching, choreography, and performance through the non-profit, Spilling Ink.

Academic Distinctions

  • National Endowment for the Arts in Research Grant, 2021
  • Marian Chace Foundation grant for research, Marian Chace Foundation, 2020
  • Teck-Kah Lim Graduate Student Domestic Travel Subsidy Award, Drexel University, 2019
  • The Stronach/Buschel Creative Arts Therapy Endowed Diversity Scholarship, Drexel University, 2008 – 2010

Professional Society

American Dance Therapy Association
Md/DC/VA Chapter of the American Dance therapy Association
Creative Movement Therapy Association of India

Selected Publications

Puhy, C., Prakash, N., Lacson, C., & Bradt, J. (2021). Multicultural teaching competence in undergraduate faculty: A convergent mixed methods study. Journal for Multicultural Education.

Research Interests

Dance/movement therapy, violence prevention in inpatient mental health settings, violence prevention and ethnic bullying in schools, multicultural counseling competencies in education, mixed methods research, qualitative research

  • PhD, Creative Arts Therapies
    Drexel University
    Philadelphia, PA
  • MA, Dance/Movement Therapy
    Drexel University
    Philadelphia, PA
  • MPA, Indian Classical Dance, Bharatanatyam
    Maharaja Sayajirao University
    Baroda, Gujarat, India
  • BA, Indian Classical Music
    Queen Mary’s College
    Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India