For the occasional reader of this blog I just wanted to say, …… it continues on. At least for this Dance Movement Therapist and Counselor blogger. I learned a lot at Antioch University New England and combined with my 20 years experience helping to facilitate creative arts group therapy sessions I am now working in the field and enjoying it very much. I sometimes write a blog here on word press called Somatic Education. In addition I also have a Facebook page also called Somatic Education Face Book. Take a moment to read them. Thanks, RichardB
In Dance Movement Therapy (D/MT) transference and counter transference play a crucial role in the therapy session. Understanding the differing theories of transference, where and how they take place, whether on an emotional, physical, cognitive, or neurological level is an important foundation for the effective treatment of a client. It is because transference is primarily an unconscious process that D/MT as an effective avenue into the subconscious can allow for transference actions to become consciously embodied. It is this embodiment of these subconscious processes that allows for the exploration and bringing to light transference and thus one part of ‘healing’ for the client.In D/MT client(s) move, through posture and/or gesture in ways that is less likely to be censored. For instance, a therapist asks a question and the client hesitates and chooses their words and answers, censoring (either consciously or not) their response. It’s a cognitive process that we all do generally with little thinking or effort. The therapist asks the same questions and directs the client to respond with the hands in a gesture or a posture with a fuller body expression. I’ve noticed over the last twenty some years that people tend to respond/react to this type of direction with the same hesitation and then begin to move in ways that express something rarely captured by words. I believe this is because people are used to censoring their words but less so with the body.
A great example of this is the Stress-less classes I have taught over the years. Participants almost always identify the body as the way they know they are really stressed out. They report grinding their teeth, clenching their fists, clenching their butt muscles, as the primary resources of how they are feeling/thinking. It’s the bodies uncensored expression of what is happening internally that they notice most. In Dance Movement therapy it is what the body says that we notice most.
I have learned a lot about Dance Movement Therapy here at Antioch University. I have come to know the far reaching effects that movement has in discovering one’s own feelings. I have come to recognizing others feelings by witnessing their movement as well.
In one internship I spend time directing a group of clients to move in ways that expressed relaxation for them. Ten people moving in ten different ways, all expressing the same thing. Later the group shared their experience first with a movement and then with verbal processing. The clients discovered new ways of relaxing and being relaxed by exploring and witnessing others move.
We can all learn new ways of moving and being moved by witnessing others. As children we learned patterns of movement from our care givers and from our culture. As adults we add to our developmental movement patterns by incorporating the uniqueness of who we are. As we mature and age, our movement pattern change again to reflect where in our lives we are.
We all move, everyone of us. With our breath, our eye lids, our heart beat, and more. It is what we have in common. It is who we are.
I wouldn’t do Antioch justice without mentioning the food service. On the second floor of Antioch, there is a small kitchen with a variety of foods for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The staff is always friendly, and the food is high quality.
I am always in a rush in the morning, and Antioch’s breakfast provides a quick meal I can enjoy in class. I almost always make a stop for a pastry and coffee before rushing off to my first class. The selection varies, but I always find something tempting – a scone, banana bread, coffee cake, etc. and a coffee. There’s a coffee club card for one free coffee after 10 coffee purchases, and I make good use of those. Coffee refills are available for a discounted price if the same cup is used – great pick-me-up during class break. Egg sandwiches and yogurt with granola are also available.
At lunch, there is usually a selection of soups and sandwiches (Tomato cheddar soup is one of my personal favorites). Taco salads are also popular among the students. The food is freshly prepared and served hot or cold depending on the selection. A variety of drinks are also available. I’ve never had anything I didn’t enjoy.
Homemade cookies, brownies, and other treats are also available for dessert or an afternoon snack.
Without doubt, Donna’s kitchen is a bright spot at Antioch. I once heard a classmate say that the food service atmosphere was one of the deciding factors in her decision to come to Antioch.
As this final school year winds down, I have noticed how much we have all learned through the program at Antioch. I hear classmates discuss issues with clear understanding of this profession. All the pieces learned in the many classes are coming together as we develop our individual approaches to counseling.
I feel a greater confidence in my abilities while maintaining an awareness of areas where I still need to grow. I think one of the important concepts I’ve gained through the education process is an understanding and appreciation of the complexity of the art of counseling. There is no one correct approach, but there are certain treatment protocols that have been shown to be successful.
One of our final projects is an analyses of our own theoretical orientation. This is an interesting process because we are challenged to understand what theories are driving our individual work and what aspects of our life and training have drawn us to these particular theories. We write a paper explaining our understanding of our orientation, using current literature to support the efficacy of our work. Finally, we present the information to our professional seminar courses, demonstrating our competency with recordings from client sessions that illustrate our work. The process is fascinating.
Not only does this project serve to demonstrate to our competency to the professor, it allows us to identify our own level of competency in the work we are doing at our internships. It clearly illustrates how prepared we are to step into the role of counselor independent of Antioch.
If you have a passion for dance and a desire to use your skills in a counseling role, Antioch New England’s programs in Dance/Movement Therapy leads to truly gratifying career options. Dance/Movement Therapy integrates the mind, body, and spirit through verbal and non-verbal treatment approaches to wellness. The program is approved by the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA).
Click HERE to see the video from Antioch New England Dance Movement Therapy Program.
Here at Antioch University in the Dance Movement Therapy program we use reflection as one of the processes of learning. One of those reflection/learning models is authentic movement, another is Narrative Writing. Below I present a writing about an Authentic Movement experience.
For me authentic movement is connecting with the deep internal well of the self, the sub-consciousness. Drawing slowly one bucket at a time, of feelings, thoughts, and sensations - than pouring them out, to the external, sometimes a few drops, sometimes a cup full, on occasion a whole bucket at a time, washed over the movement floor.
How does a feeling move me? What body part has an urge to move? What thought moves me and what body part has an urge to move from that thought? How does one sensation (physical, emotional, mental) and one body part moving form/transform into a pattern of movement and a pattern of sensation? These questions are a part of the authentic movement experience for me and they don’t arise while moving but are answered nevertheless by the process.
I sit with my eyes closed, noticing my breath, noticing contractions and expansions in my body. Noticing discomfort and comfort, and then reconnecting with my breath. The mind/thinking creates images and thought patterns in response to the bodily sensations. The body begins to create movement in response to feelings and thought sensations. Letting it happen without censoring, without wondering why or where it is coming from. It just happens.
Moving with the eyes closed in my own internal space, bringing the interior to the exterior, the internal to the external. Using a minimum of sound/words (or none at all); connecting with the floor, walls, ceiling, and air; with the very molecules themselves.
Taking the internal to the external and taking that external even further by sensing others in the room, closer, further; the sound of their breath, of their movement. Perhaps even a touch, and more touch, and less touch. Trying effortlessly to maintain the self (the internal to the external) without being swayed by the connection with another. Trying effortlessly to maintain the self while connecting with the space, the walls, floor, air, molecules.