What is Movement Psychotherapy?
Movement Psychotherapy is a type of psychotherapy that works on the understanding that we cannot always access what we need through the thinking mind. The thinking mind can sometimes be “sneaky” and tell us what we want to hear. Movement Psychotherapy focuses in on the feelings, sensations and movements in the body to access our old stories and emotions and enable us to release them without necessarily having to talk about them.
During a session, a movement can be as subtle as watching sensations moving within the body. Talk may be also be involved but the therapist always refers back to how it feels in the body.
Our bodies remember everything we have ever felt and everything that has ever happened to us. Our bodies also know how to process these memories effectively if we give ourselves the space to do so and in a safe environment.
The Movement Psychotherapy Session
All sessions are different and evolve to suit the client needs. Sessions can take up to 75 minutes.
Perhaps the most crucial aspect to Movement Psychotherapy is the therapeutic relationship. Being fully present with clients develops an environment of safety and support where they can feel truly heard and seen.
It is often the case when working with clients with Dementia and autistic spectrum disorder that this development of a truly connected relationship where the client feels deeply heard and seen can be enough in itself.
For those clients who feel uncomfortable with movement it may feel appropriate for a session to involve a certain amount of talking in order to develop a trusting relationship. For these clients movement may remain as subtle as tracking the breath and sensations moving through the body. Simply paying attention with curiosity and compassion to the emotions and sensations arising in our bodies can be a powerful way of accessing and releasing stories, anxieties and emotions that feel trapped in our systems.
For those clients who relishes the idea of becoming more fully embodied deeper work with developmental movement patterns can help a client move towards coming fully into relationship with their bodies and the emotional and energetic potential that lies therein.
Where appropriate the therapist works with Authentic Mindful Movement. This way of working encourages movements, often very gentle and subtle, to arise spontaneously in the body when we allow for it in a safe and supportive environment. This can be a wonderful and creative means of self-expression, self -exploration and a way of accessing stories, desires and emotions that we are unable to access through the thinking mind.
Why Movement Psychotherapy?
Because Movement Psychotherapy is able to focus on non-verbal communication, it can have a broader spectrum than many therapies. It can be particularly helpful in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or learning difficulties, those suffering with Dementia as well as being useful for those who struggle to speak or just don’t enjoy talking.
In the UK, Movement Psychotherapy is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as an effective and research-proven way to treat schizophrenia.
It is also growing in popularity as an intervention for issues such as diagnosed depression, anxiety, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), OCD, PTSD and medically unexplained symptoms .
Movement Psychotherapy is used as an intervention by the NHS, in educational settings, in care homes and in other social services provisions.
Movement Psychotherapy is also widely used in non-diagnosis situations. This way of working can facilitate self-development, self-care, self-expression, and self-exploration and growth It is helpful for those suffering mental or emotional distress and relationship difficulties.