Dance Movement Therapy and drawing

In Dance Movement Therapy (a Creative Arts Therapy), therapists use a variety of tools. One is the use of drawn images. When I work with clients I use art in service to therapy, allowing the client to draw before moving so the image becomes a prop, and/or a drawing after moving allowing the client to draw their experience.

As mentioned in a previous blog post; in the creative arts process, the symbols that are created contain valuable information which speak to the circumstances of life. The unique aspect of the creative arts is that it often taps into the subconscious using a different part of the brain to express than what is used to verbalize

When using drawings with clients I look beyond the  psychopathological perspective, and view the work for its intrinsic value as an expression. I acknowledge the universality of images and symbols with an open mind to the uniqueness and specific feeling content of the client’s creation.

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Authentic movement

Authentic Movement, a process of moving one’s feelings and thoughts was originally called Movement in Depth by Dance Movement Therapy pioneer Mary Starks Whitehouse. Authentic movement grew from Whitehouse’s roots in dance, Jungian studies, and work in dance/movement therapy. Building on Jung’s method of active imagination, she saw symbolic meaning in physical action.

Authentic movement enables a direct connection to the depths of the unconscious, accessing the rich resources of intuitive wisdom expressed through the embodied word, image, sensation and of course movement.

For me authentic movement is connecting with the deep internal well of the self, the sub-consciousness. Drawing slowly one bucket at a time, of feelings, thoughts, and sensations – than pouring them out, to the external, sometimes a few drops, sometimes a cup full, on occasion a whole bucket at a time, washed over the movement floor.

How does a feeling move me? What body part has an urge to move? What thought moves me and what body part has an urge to move from that thought? How does one sensation (physical, emotional, mental) and one body part moving form/transform into a pattern of movement and a pattern of sensation?   These questions are a part of the authentic movement experience for me and they don’t arise while moving but are answered nevertheless by the process.

I sit with my eyes closed, noticing my breath, noticing contractions and expansions in my body. Noticing discomfort and comfort, and then reconnecting with my breath. The mind/thinking creates images and thought patterns in response to the bodily sensations. The body begins to create movement in response to feelings and thought sensations. Letting it happen without censoring, without wondering why or where it is coming from. It just happens.

Moving with the eyes closed in my own internal space, bringing the interior to the exterior, the internal to the external. Using a minimum of sound/words (or none at all); connecting with the floor, walls, ceiling, and air; with the very molecules themselves.

Taking the internal to the external and taking that external even further by sensing others in the room, closer, further; the sound of their breath, of their movement. Perhaps even a touch, and more touch, and less touch. Trying effortlessly to maintain the self (the internal to the external) without being swayed by the connection with another. Trying effortlessly to maintain the self while connecting with the space, the walls, floor, air, molecules.