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20th August 2017 
Body Movement Psychotherapy. Feel Less Stressed 2017

Body Movement Psychotherapy

As a specialised form of Group Therapy, Body Movement Psychotherapy is a cost effective way of doing therapy as the cost will be shared amongst the participants. The group therapy that I offer is based on the psychotherapeutic use of creative expressive movement, creative media etc, where you will be able to explore any one or more of the following.

Develop your awareness
Make better contact with yourself and others
Gain knowledge about how groups work
Explore your issues in a group setting
Try out some creative and experimental methods
Get feedback from others
Learn from other people’s experiences
Gain greater insight into how you operate
Learn in a stimulating environment

As a Registered Private Practice Dance Movement Psychotherapist, I choose to describe my practice as Body Movement Psychotherapy because there is often a concern expressed by potential clients that they will be expected to dance! Yes, I sometimes use dance or dance related movement but I am often more interested in working with the clients body based movement in ways suggested by our Professional Association ... "Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) recognises body movement as an implicit and expressive instrument of communication and expression. DMP is a relational process in which client/s and therapist engage in an empathic creative process using body movement and dance to assist integration of emotional, cognitive, physical, social and spiritual aspects of self." (ADMP-UK).

For those new to this form of psychotherapy, which has been around since the 1940s, the term 'dance' can sometimes get in the way of understanding what we do. Therefore, sometimes I prefer to use the term movement or body movement psychotherapist, however it is my extensive knowledge, experience and knowledge of dance that I bring to my practice. Having said that, it is the art form of dance that is the primary component of healing in the psychotherapeutic relationship.

What this means is, in my practice, as with my psychotherapeutic counselling practice is to create a safe place to support the client's exploration of what concerns them. The difference is, but not exclusively, is to primarily use movement to help with issues, concerns etc. at times more quickly than 'talking' about them. We can also 'talk' and sometimes we might toward the end of a session to help 'make sense' of the session if appropriate at the time. We might also use various music, props and art materials. We can be can be as creative as the therapy process allows.

On a practical level, we would have an assessment session where we explore whether this is the right approach for you at this time and if I'm the right therapist for you. Briefly, the sessions would begin with a 'warm up', which usually raises something that we might work with in the 'middle bit' as appropriate and we would close the session at the end safely to ensure the client is supported enough to go 'back into the world' until the next session. For more information, do please call me to discuss further. In general this would apply to groups, couples and individuals. My work often includes verbal dialogue as well as movement and any other creative medium e.g. Image making.

With other groups, I work with those who wish to explore specific issues in a group context which maybe be with others who have similar issues, or for personal development in a creative movement based context. This work may include other creative materials.

I offer either open or closed therapy groups. I also offer this way of working for personal development and particularly interested in offering a men's personal development group.


Body Movement Psychotherapy. Library Image: Steps in Sand (Sml)

Client Groups

I have or have had experience of working with the following:

Elderly residents with dementia.
Adults with mental health difficulties.
Children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Young people with learning difficulties.
Adults with learning difficulties.


Body Movement Psychotherapy. Library Image: Steps in Sand (Sml)

Couples and Individuals

Movement based psychotherapy is also offered to couples and individuals. With couples I am able to work with relationship issues. With individuals, I am able to work with a range of issues. My couples work, however, is about offering a different way of working with relationship issues than you might get from relationship counselling. In addition to dance movement psychotherapy approaches and techniques, this may also include partnered dancing.


Body Movement Psychotherapy. Library Image: Steps in Sand (Sml)

Approach

My practice is informed primarily by a Humanistic Integrative approach and largely influenced by 4 year training in Gestalt Psychotherapy, 2 years training in Developmental and Somatic Psychotherapy developed by Dr Ruella Frank in NYC. My approach has been influenced by the work of Dance Therapy Pioneers Marian Chace and Trudi Schoop and also enriched and deepened by the Interpersonal Approach to DMP developed by the late Dr Jill Hayes. As appropriate I introduce and integrate music, props and artistic media that has therapeutic benefit for the clients. This work is also informed by Daniel Stern's Vitality Forms. My practice is supported by dancing Gabrielle Roth's Five Rhythms as regularly as I'm able to do so, and the mindfulness practice of the sacred clown developed by Didier Danthois and theatrical clowning developed by Vivian Gladwell.

To ensure I work ethically and safely I have regular supervision with a Senior RDMP.


Post Qualifying Experience

2007: I worked with a group of 14 young people with learning disabilities at Baginton School, Coventry. Courtesy of Coventry Psychological Department. I also worked for an ArtsPep project with adults with learning difficulties in Coventry.

2007/8: I worked with elders in two care homes 'The Roundabout' and 'Goodrest' in Birmingham courtesy of Birmingham Centre of Arts Therapies (BCAT).

2008/9: I continued to work at 'The Roundabout' care home for the elderly by return request.

2009: I completed a ten week pilot project working with young children in St Columbas Catholic Primary School.

2010: I worked with children and young people with special needs from different ethnic backgrounds through the charity organisation Athac in Birmingham. I also worked with young person at a Children's Residential Care Home in Birmingham.

2011: I supported the MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy (BCAT in partnership with Worcester University) by supporting their students in my placements at The Roundabout Care Home working with elders and St Columbas Primary School working with children and The Kenrick Centre working with elders with dementia in Birmingham.

2012: I continued to support the MA detailed above.

2013: I presented a workshop on "the qualities of movement and their relationship to movement improvisation" to 1st year students on the MA in DMP course at Derby University.

2013 - Present: Lecturer teaching a range of modules on the MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy at Derby University, including supervision.

2014 - Present: Lecturer teaching a range of modules on the Creative Expressive Therapies course at Derby University, including supervsion of final year students.

2015 - Present: Working in Private Practice with a client with Autism and another with learning disabilities and cerebral palsy.


International Experience

Summer School - Creativity and Learning: "Courage and Sensitivity" 6 - 10 June 2016 in Jyväskylä | JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Teacher Education College delivering a PM experiential workshop "Exploring Courage and Sensitivity with the Body in Movement". (JAMK)

Summer School - Creativity and Learning: “Joy” 8–12 June 2015 in Jyväskylä | JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Teacher Education College delivering an experiential workshop "The potential of "joy" in creative expressive movement: A Humanistic (primarily gestalt) approach".


Academic Work

Both my dance movement psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic counselling practice has been deeply influenced by my PhD.

The title of my doctoral thesis was "White men don't dance: The politics of the Latin look as evidenced in competitive International Style Latin American dance". It was a critical study of competitive International Style Latin American dance, from a cultural studies approach. As a highly stylised and constructed 'text' it raises important issues around social class, race, gender and sexuality. In short it looks at the last taboo of white men dancing, an issue partially addressed on Strictly Come Dancing. Or so it seems...

This is a unique piece of academic work and my intention is to publish the work in a book in the future. Part of this work has included lectures and seminars on the 'Dance in Everyday Life' module to second and final year students of the Communication, Media and Culture degree course at Coventry University.

I first started work on this back in the 1990s, and presented a paper on "The Latin look - Representation and Competitive Ballroom Dance" at the AMCCS Conference 11-12 December 1998 - "Moving On - Changing Times / Changing Cultures". It involved trips to Cuba (2000) and Argentina (2002) and many interviews with dance professionals and coaches.

This was before Juliet McMains published "Brownface: Representations of Latin-ness in DanceSport" in Dance Research Journal 33.2 (2001)p.54-71.

Where McMains "ethnographic data is drawn from 12 years as a critical observer and a participant in the DanceSport communuity between 1991 and 2003" (p.13, 2006), mine is drawn from over 30 years in the ballroom dance community from 1978 to the present day and 20 years as a critical observer from 1991 to the present day. I'm amazed that Juliet was also thinking/writing about these issues around the same time as myself albeit thousands of miles apart.

Juliet McMains produced her book called "Glamour Addiction" in 2006 and a book was also written by Caroline Picart (2006), both of which were closest to my PhD.

Useful Links: Association of Dance Movement Psychotherapists UK (ADMP-UK)


Additional Information

These sessions are facilitated by a qualified and experienced humanistic integrative Registered Dance Movement Psychotherapist on the Private Practice Register with experience of working with a range of client groups largely freelance through the Birmingham Centre for Arts Therapies. I have worked with people in a therapeutic capacity since 2002.

During my training at Roehampton University I had placements in two mental health settings (NHS and MIND in Birmingham) working with adults with mental health difficulties, two care homes for elders with dementia and special needs schools.

My knowledge of dance, movement and the body draws from my extensive experience and knowledge as a qualified and experienced professional dance teacher, choreographer, coach and trainer of ballroom, International Style Latin American dance and Classical Sequence. I have an interest in dancing and teaching salsa, bachata and merengue. This now includes creative expression on performance art of clowning.


NEWS!

I am currently a member of the Professional Development Committee (PDC) of ADMP-UK, 2017.

I was Chair of the Education and Training Committee (ETC) of ADMP-UK, 2016.

ADMP-UK is now an Organisational Member (OM) of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) (UKCP) and many senior RDMPs were able to apply for Direct membership of UKCP as UKCP DMPs immediately. Many other DMPs including myself will be able to apply by various pathways to become Direct Members of UKCP should we wish to.

As a Registered Dance Movement Psychotherapist (DMP) on the ADMP-UK Private Practice Register, I offer trainee DMPs personal therapy (in accordance with UKCP guidelines for DMP trainings) with a few low cost places available.

Body Movement Psychotherapy. Library Image: Doorway of Hope