I wanted to keep close to my experiences at the moment in my practice in order to share with you and hopefully resonate in some way with your journeys as creative movement therapists.
Being real and honest is something that has been important for me and is what I have been taking to supervision lately. Honesty in the psychological relationship is very important. It is a necessity for the therapist to be authentic and genuine in the relationship, honest with the feelings flowing through her in each moment. Certainly I see this in each session; my client / patient knows if I am real or not. It’s great! I get to be real. There is no need for masks, just a need to be vulnerable and open to what is. At times I have said to myself ‘how can I just be real, something needs to happen here, I need to get something going’ but, in the being real I am able to attune more to the client. Outside of the therapy space this seems to continue, if I am honest with the flow of emotions and feelings in me it’s as if a whole new world opens up and if I step through it then the relationship grows in the right direction.
“It is only in this way that the relationship can have the reality, and reality seems deeply important as the first condition. It is only by providing the genuine reality which is in me, that the other person can successfully seek for the reality in him. I have found this to be true even when the attitudes I feel are not attitudes with which I am pleased, or attitudes which seem conducive to a good relationship. It seems extremely important to be real”
Carl Rogers 1961
Emotional communication in body action is something that Marion Chace referred to time and again recognizing that there is a healthy person within the disturbed on. Drawing upon the health to bring about change within her patients this dance movement therapy pioneer accepted them for what they could do and not what they should do (1993). Underneath every disease or disturbance is an emotional repression of some sort and it makes sense that when we heal we help heal our patients.
Sharing my clinical experiences and work as a dmp in this way I hope to encourage responses and similar processes and stories from others. Especially lately I have started to dance again and I don’t mean in the therapy space but, in my own time. I am reminded again that if we want to be real and honest as dance therapists we need to dance! Not just exercise and not just movements with our patients but, dance to touch the divine, to touch the vital spirit within our bodies. Movement is how we came into the world, is how we were made and it’s how we live. This vital spark is health, is intelligence and is the energy we need every day. Connecting with your vitality through dance is like cooking with the perfect ingredients to produce the best meal. If the best ingredient is not added then then the meal does not taste as it should and could even make someone sick!
“There is vitality, a life force, energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And, if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”
The vitality is indeed the life force and the energy needed to live fully. For psychiatric patients, for those with learning disabilities and autism whose vital connections are disorganised and disturbed movement therapy has the big advantage of being a channel through which this life force can be redirected in a positive direction because we are working with the vital force which shows and develops only in movement. It is the vitality, the joy in the cells or the life energy in the cells where we start from.
Oftentimes yoga moves or Pilates exercises are used as interventions with my patients whose bodies seem buried beneath deep layers of shame. Dance seems too vulnerable at first. The healthy vitality emerges slowly! Either buried beneath hypervitiality or a lack of vital energy but with patience, love, faith and dance the healthy person can emerge.