I have just spent the day observing a group of teachers in a wonderful special school here in South Wales. I came away with a feeling of freshness in the air. Sitting there watching these ladies facilitate a therapeutic art of movement session for these children where empathy was flowing like a beautiful waterfall of rainbows!
I can’t help but feeling that these teachers who have not had any psychotherapy training or had any real therapeutic training either in the sense of a holding environment or the therapeutic relationship or on attachment, though many professionals in education nowadays do have knowledge of attachment theories, are more successful at encouraging the creative emergence of the child to happen than some clinically trained therapists.
I am not saying that trained therapists and psychotherapists are unsuccessful in any way as I know and respect some brilliant ones, but merely noticing that life seems to happen in the spontaneous, natural moments that are founded on the simplicity of love. Its one thing to understand this concept and write expertly on the topic of empathy but quite another to just be it which I witnessed today.
I wonder if this is akin to those therapists being trained in movement analysis versus those that don’t at all as these teachers didn't. What is the point of movement analysis or development through 'therapeutic' movement programmes if there is not empathy? To me it seems as though it would be like a typical physical education programme. What really is the point? Most especially in respect to those children and indeed adults with special needs?
I know I have mentioned this a little in the past when writing on the topic of dance and spirituality but it keeps on cropping up and I wanted to share it and open it up to discussion and question. Do you have any? If so I’d love to hear and try to get a forum for sharing going.
"Being informed by the basic kinaesthetic, emotional and symbolic aspects of the children’s movements are far more important than the functional aspects that are on a secondary level"
(Wengrower, 2009: 27)