trees by the lake

Dance/Movement Therapy

Dance/Movement Therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of dance/movement to promote emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of an individual, and is rooted in the idea that the body and the mind are inseparable. Its basic premise is that body movement reflects inner emotional states, and that changes in movement behavior can lead to change in the psyche, thus promoting health and growth.

Authentic Movement

Authentic Movement is a form of movement therapy that cultivates a contemplative state of mind and clarity of perception. Authentic movement was developed by dancer and psychotherapist Mary Stark Whitehouse who applied C.G. Jung’s process of “Active Imagination” to movement. Authentic Movement explores the relationship between a mover and a witness, the process of being seen and seeing another. The mover, eyes closed, learns to follow the deep impulses of his or her unique self-directed movement. The mover listens to the subtle body sensations, breath, emotions, memories, fluid images and thoughts that arise which leads to expressive or gentle movement and resonant sound.  Through this process the mover learns to trust the deep wisdom of the body that comes from this inner listening. In turn, the witness offers a compassionate presence and while watching the mover tracks his or her own inner responses. The attention brought about by the relationship between the mover and the witness allows for creative, growthful and spiritual aspects of each to emerge. As our capacity to listen to our body develops we discover that the fullness of the present moment is more available. The emerging material is further explored through verbal sharing, writing, art, drama, dream exploration and clay work.

Authentic Movement can be used in various ways:

  • As a meditative practice that integrates body and mind for increased access to consciousness.
  • As a psychotherapeutic process, using the body as a channel, for bringing unconscious processes to awareness.
  • As a source of artistic expression, to access the body’s creativity and active imagination, opening to new aspects of perception.
  • As a collective community process creating a safe, often fun, nurturing atmosphere for people to find ease, sometimes playfulness and awareness in their bodies.
  • As body health, increasing vitality, flow and mobility and reducing stress.

This approach to movement and the psyche requires no particular confidence, skill, training or facility in movement or art, rather it requires curiosity, respect, honesty, and a little bit of courage to face the unknown.