If you watch young children move, you will notice that they move very differently than adults – they haven’t yet learned that there are acceptable ways to move and unacceptable ways to move. Children follow their innate impulses for movement – it helps them to learn, sequence through emotions, and play. If they have too much emotion, they might have a bit of a tantrum. If they’re happy, they might skip or jump around. Sometimes they just do weird stuff that we adults laugh at because they don’t know what they’re doing is weird. As adults, we socialize our children. We will teach them to not wiggle in church, to clamp down the tantrum, to not dance in public – and some of this socialization is clearly necessary. But, they often also learn shame. So they break the impulse from action, and eventually, become dissociated from their bodies until they no longer feel the impulse. Authentic Movement is a practice that helps us to return to the wisdom of our bodies and remember what it’s like to feel and respond to internal impulses. When we are able to live in our bodies we are more centered and happier; we know who we are and where we stand.
The practice of Authentic Movement always has a witness to nonjudgmentally bear witness to the mover. Following the movement period, the witness will speak to their experience of the mover along with the sensations evoked within them. Moving from a deep internal impulse while being seen is highly vulnerable. Authentic Movement can be a deeply profound experience for many people as, for many of us, our deep wounding is about not being fully seen or understood. Authentic Movement is practiced with eyes-closed so that the mover can fully enter into an internal state. The mover waits for internal movement impulses, then allows her/his body to do what it wants to do. Authentic movement is not dance. It is a body-centered method for accessing the unconscious. Authentic Movement cultivates healing and understanding by:
- bringing the unconscious to the conscious.
- reentering the truth and wisdom of the body.
- entering into nonordinary states of consciousness.
- the experience of being fully seen by the witness.
Authentic Movement can be practiced one-on-one or in groups. In a therapeutic one-on-one session, the therapist is the witness, while the client is the mover. In group settings, the therapist will always hold the primary witness role, however, others in the group may witness as well. Groups can be designed so that one person is moving while the entire group witnesses, all can move while the therapist is witness, or a combination of those two wherein some people move and some people witness.
- Article ~ Thinking Through The Body
- Video ~ Kids Dancing (note the boy is fully embodied while the girl, being a bit older, is more aware of being seen which begins to limit her full-bodied experience)
- Video ~ Still Looking
- Wiki ~ Authentic Movement