Through relationship movements and having fun we can awaken love, safety; trust, affection and hope

As dance movement psychotherapists (dmp’s) we know too well how dancing with others and movements of meaning open up possibilities that enable us to better connect and link with the energy of life. I love to write about this because it something that we know deeply and it is something that sets us apart from other therapists.

In and through movement it is possible to reach our full potential as we are working with the most primitive part of us, the most natural; our bodies. The way that we sense and know without question what is ‘the flow of life’ where we are out of the cultural so called superior intelligence that oftentimes keeps us alone, rigid and without hope.

The relationship is the key to its success as I believe it is in all forms of therapy. However, the difference in dance movement psychotherapy is that this is all built in and through movement, through dancing together and through simple enjoyment. So my work is through the lens of movement, it’s beautiful and I just feel it gets richer!

Words sometimes do not work and what’s more it can take a whole lot of time to reach somebody and affect change. I feel that as a (dmp) that I am privileged because I am in a ‘high position’ if you like, a ‘high position’ in this universe because through having fun we can awaken love, safety; trust, affection and hope in our patients.

Karen Woodley (RDMP) - Props
Karen Woodley (RDMP) – Props


Jenny (pseudonym)

Just six weeks into our work together and Jenny  is laughing, not superficial, polite or frightened laughter but, gut primitive laughter. She is allowing affectionate touch and her spontaneous gestures are leading us into a new communication.


I love working non-verbally and in fact do every day. It’s one of the reasons I love being a dance movement psychotherapist, the other reasons are:

  • I get to see the world through movement
  • I get speak through movement
  • I witness my patients / clients express themselves through movement / creativity and spontaneous moments of joy, vulnerability, beauty, gentleness and grace
  • I give my clients the opportunity to explore their authentic self
  • I am moved by their humanity each time deeper into our humanity


Bill (pseudonym)

Knows what he wants to do each session, move his fast energy and tell his story all at the same time.

His nervous system has taken a battering and so the session’s aims are to restore that lost equilibrium through movements of activity and resting.


Developing empathy and social integration most especially in those with autism and mental disabilities through (dmp) are a couple of examples as to how effective it is as a therapy. Numerous researches shows that those individuals with autism have an inability or deficit with relating socially due to the desynchronization or lack of firing/input from the pre-motor neurons in the brain and also that empathy is lacking and sometimes disturbed which can be cultivated in the (dmp) process through e.g.  Motor imitation. When the (dmp) therapist is witnessing a client in movement, the mirror matching networks within the (CNS) are generating interneuronal connectivity between them both (Berrol, 2006).



Relationship Movements

So with my patients / clients I am looking to build relationship. Relationship movements that can address the problems in the cognitive spectrum, the movement spectrum and the social spectrum by using for example Laban Movement Analysis through for e.g. the BODY,  the main tool for communication from ones internal connection that is the earth from which we grow. Through the EFFORT of my client which is their dynamic expression through which they connect and communicate with others and the world around them. Working with SPACE, the use of which shows ones presence in the world and SHAPING that reflects their interpersonal skills.

Good things are happening in these sessions that I am excited to write about and share! More about the fun times in the New Year.





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