It is a non-directive, non-invasive, often non-verbal, creative arts therapy. Despite the name, you do not need to know how to dance (I’ve never had a dance lesson in my life), and it is not about being taught dance routines or being put under pressure to perform. Sessions can be 30 minutes or an hour long depending on preference and can be used to work on short-term goals a few weeks, or over a longer period of time to go more deeply into issues.
DMP can be offered on a one-to-one basis or in groups. Either way, I provide a safe, non-judgmental space for individuals to process private anxieties, conflicted feelings, or whatever they feel they would like to work on. I am not an authority figure but an empathic ally, a witness, there to hold a safe space, to listen, to meet the client where they are, and to create an environment that encourages trust. Because the sessions are psychotherapeutic, they are absolutely confidential.
Our physical movements show us what we are holding in our body. Movement is also the body’s way of offering up information, often outside of our awareness and sometimes in very powerful metaphors. I am trained to pick up on these metaphors and will explore them with the client as appropriate. By offering a safely contained space, I can help clients externalise anger, pain or confusion held in their body so emotions that cannot be expressed in words find an outlet. I am also trained to detect evidence of interruptions to psychomotor development when trauma possibly occurred, which may be causing symptoms or destructive habitual patterns now. I can pick up on what the client is feeling and find opportunities to reflect back what I am seeing.
“Your body has been supporting you all your life. Take the time to listen to what it is trying to tell you.” Connie
It is best to wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely. I will also invite you to remove your shoes, if you like, so that you can experience the feeling of the support of the floor beneath your feet. We start off by sitting together face to face and take the time for you to share what is on your mind, either verbally or, if it’s easier, offering a movement or gesture to show how you’re feeling. We’ll discuss what you hope to gain from the session and how I can best support you.
We work our way through the body gently waking up our physical selves in preparation for movement and also to activate awareness of body sensations. Sometimes we’ll use props such as balls, tensor bands and stretch cloths. The physical warm-up offers the possibility of getting out of our heads and having a break from anxious and stressed thinking, worrying, or hopelessness. Guiding our minds away from our thoughts and into our body is a type of embodiment, which is a hallmark of DMP.
What is most important is that you have a chance to experience ‘just being me’, and not the person who is caught up in painful anxieties, self-destructive thoughts, disconnected from your body and the world around you, or struggling to keep up with other people’s demands and the sheer busy-ness of life. It is a chance to just be and not have to do. This can be achieved in a number of different ways, using music, movement, dance, working with props, and so on, depending on what feels right for you in the moment, or what issues you are carrying.
This is an opportunity to talk about how things feel now compared to when you arrived. Or not: I will never put you the spot or force you to talk because sometimes words just get in the way. Once again, perhaps a movement or gesture will say it for you. I then use any number of movement interventions or activities to help you process your experience so you feel safely contained, relaxed and ready to go back out into the world until the next session.