Being present with our clients is the most important element in the therapeutic process. Amidst all the ‘cultural and societal correctness’ I see many therapists / facilitators lose a vital link with their clients that they may not have lost if they just allowed themselves to be authentic with all their seeming flaws! So, as the facilitator it is important to be authentic / congruent, act real and not falsely. We need to really understand at the deepest level that to be with another is to be with myself as it is from here that we evolve through a type of ethical consciousness.
So how do you do this?
Firstly, be congruent, be real, not false!
So rather than focusing on trying to get something to happen, the work is creating safety. From this safe base the client/patient will more likely feel you present with them. So, no planning for the next session for example and just be there! Just be there and follow the knowing of the client and respond to where they are as oppose to coming with a plan! There is a lot of research that shows that in order for us to be truly present we cannot be doing left hemispheric tasks like planning! Secondly, dropping into the felt sense of our bodies, being tolerant and attuning to the client, patient or indeed group and not just intelligently follow a script / session structure.
As a teacher you may very well have a natural loving, vital presence (as I see oftentimes) and it is more about just organising the therapeutic session experience. In this instance what you need is to explore your own movement repertoire and become more into movement! More a Moving partner!
I have recently come across this situation with a very experienced teacher with children who are on the Autistic Spectrum. She initially found it hard to change from class teacher to therapeutic session leader, and this is understandable because she needs to do this without any preperation time at all ! However, she makes a conscious effort to take herself away from the the children and the staff e.g. during lunchtime in order to do this. Or, one week she told me that she woke up earlier that morning and took time to focus on the session and who was going to be there which she said really helped her to be more present in the 'moment' with the children throughout their time together. Knowing that instead of looking for behaviours she is looking for smiles, movements, spontaneous gestures and flowing with the energy as oppose to the expectations and goals. So, these little steps as a facilitator can go along way in helping you to have 'therapeutic presence'
Oftentimes as dance movement therapists we are called to intervene in a client’s process in connecting with them through contact through hands or other body areas that connect naturally as you dance with someone!
The working with contact is something much deeper than just massage, holding hands or ‘laying on of hands’. The ingredients of sensibility and sweetness need to be mixed together through one’s body in order to be able give ‘homeopathic’ droplets of love to your clients / patients. Otherwise you might ask, what is it that you are passing to your client?
Obviously with some clients we are unable to even think about connecting through bodily contact such as those with Autism but if we are aware of its deep importance really from ‘inutero’ and prepare ourselves through a type of sweet education whereby we become re-educated in sensitivity, empathy and presence it is possible to really reach those clients who could benefit the most.
“It is the quality of presence that grants presence”
I have put together a CPD for professionals working with clients / patients and school teachers in which you will have the opportunity to experience at a very real level sensitivity and re-organise its movement through your body with love and as a result will change the way you lead and follow the children / clients you are with. Through special exercises your heart will be enriched which in turn enriches your professional practice as a teacher.
If you would like me to deliver this for you please contact me on Karen@danceyourfeelings.com