I have been involved in dance and movement all my adult life. Overall, I have over 40 years experience of dance as a performer, competitor, teacher, community practitioner and therapist. I had always been aware of the the pleasure of movement and the way it can stimulate a change in the overall emotional state, but a growing recognition of the importance of the interrelationship between mind and body and how it affects behaviour psychologically led me to deeper study and, 10 years ago, into training and qualification as a Dance Movement Psychotherapist (DMP).
DMP training requires Masters students to address their own emotional journeys and working through my personal history involving longstanding trauma and complex bereavement brought realisation of just how valuable the body related approach can be in processing the difficulties arising from these life experiences.
For many years I taught ballroom dancing. When I moved from Sussex to Cheshire I gave up my school but continued to teach couples and individuals privately, which gave me the opportunity to observe at first hand how relationships are expressed in movement. I also developed some solo classes with no partner required and was fascinated by the response from my participants who were thrilled to be dancing ‘just for themselves’.
My appreciation of the role movement plays in our health and wellbeing also led me to become an accredited Keep Fit teacher and a Postural Stability Instructor.
Because the mind/body connection is fundamental to my practice, a natural development has been the inclusion of Tai Chi and Qi Gong. These meditative practices encourage body awareness and mindful movement, and Qi Gong has the added benefits of balancing the body physiologically. My interest was sparked when realising that the practices have some underlying characteristics in common with DMP. For example, people moving in the same rhythm with the same spatial configuration become identified with one another and a sense of solidarity develops, in both Tai Chi and DMP there is a synergistic effect from the stimulation of being in a group situation and the activation that is caused by moving. Finding depth and peace in these practices for myself, I was drawn to study and qualify as an instructor.
As an integrative psychotherapist, drawing on a depth of experience with movement and therapeutic modalities, the result is an approach which is truly person centred and genuinely humanistic.