Awakening the mind, body and soul in dance movement psychotherapy
“Dance has been a vehicle for this conjunction of mind, body and soul with the eternal throughout time. The amelioration of suffering, the facilitation of life stages through rites of passage and the numinous connection to the spiritual have all come about through dance”
Penny Lewis (1996)
I have often felt many times when I dance like magic is moving from within me and have just read some stories of other dance movement therapists who speak of the same energy/imagery whatever it is, in their own work too. Some of them say it is related to a religious belief, others to a healthy way of being. For me, it is spirituality in the body, in movement, in dance and movement within a therapeutic context. As I am writing this I am reminded that as dance movement therapists, we are the ‘wounded healers’. We want to heal, we want to make others better, and otherwise we would not have chosen the profession we have chosen. Our wounds are not only personal experiences but are doorways into the transpersonal/archetypal realm that is like a higher order of our being. I feel this as I dance, and it feels like compassion, it feels like love, it is as if love transforms the past through movement.
A psychotherapist’s own experience of being wounded is what helps her face the suffering client in simple relatedness. Carl Jung talks of the Greek myth of Chiron. A centaur wounded by an arrow. He did not die but suffered a terrible pain all his life. But, it was because of this of this wound that he became the compassionate teacher of healing in ancient Greece. The most important component for becoming and being a dance movement psychotherapist is not the intellectual training , neither is it the techniques or different methods it is really the simple willingness to be humble and relate with an open heart.
Spirituality through movement is possible as dance connects us with the forces of life and is a way to be more in life. We are not just intellectual bodies, we are embodied beings. All of us. I like what Aldous Huxley wrote about movement being so interwined in a deep order of things and that it is into their muscles that people most easily obtain knowledge of the divine. We are not born as just a head, our whole body arrives! The holy moves through everyone! We could say in dancing with another that one person is the father, the other the son and the energy between us the Holy Spirit, an invisible energy that is life!
I feel proud today and sure that my practice is so informed by my experiences as oppose to the intellectual knowledge of analysis and techniques. I know analysis is good and has its place and know that evolving in my profession will never end however, stronger than this certainty is my body. My body says move, dance and it will all fit into place. This is what I do with my groups. I would love fellow dmp’s to share their views, creative art therapists and those psychotherapists who use movement in their work too.
In love and lightness