27 October 2010

Attuning To Body & Baby Using Dance/Movement Approaches

"I can feel my baby kicking!" "He is pressing against my belly!" "She is moving at this side of my belly now." When a mother starts to feel her baby's movement in the womb, it is like a magical feeling, to feel and sense the little miracle within. Probably she can't wait to see, carry, feel, hug and communicate with her baby physically. Is it possible to interact with her baby when he/she is still in her womb? With Dance Movement approaches and Fetal Notation using Kestenberg Movement Profile (KMP), a mother is able to experience and learn how to attune to her unborn baby and learn to listen to the changes in her body and prepare for the delivery and coming of her baby.

Every pregnant mother will feel the changes of her body undergoes the moment the embryo is implanted in the womb. One mother's experience differs from another. The growth of the fetus in each trimester brings about not just changes, but the wonder of the day the fetus beginning his/her first movement in the home of the womb. A new phase, a new life, a new experience. A new mother or an experienced mother, usually carries the feelings of joy, excitement, probably some fears and even anxiety. Each pregnancy is often different and unique as each mother and her unborn baby is special.

In Dance Movement approach, mother will move and learn how to listen and attune to her body and her unborn baby in her own space and time with herself and the baby within her. It can be in the form of dance with music where she will dance with her unborn baby or just being still with him/her. Her feelings, sensation and visualization can also be done in drawing and in her journal. The focus and theme often begin with what is the needed for the mother where every mother in the group will share their feelings, encounters and experiences and usually express them in movement.

Mother is also taught the 10 rhythms from KMP and to move in the rhythms. The rhythms are founded by Judith Kestenberg based on the development phase of the baby. Mother will also learn the KMP massage where it will help her to proceed into fetal notation. In fetal notation, she will notate the movement of her baby in her womb and she also learns how to attune and communicate with her hands in return. In this way of attuning, the communication between mother and child has already begun. The continuity of the attunement will follow through in birth and after.

In addition, mother learns how to pay attention and listen to the changes in her body and how to soothe the discomfort such as tension and strain by breathing and doing exercises using lengthening, widening and bulging. These help her to ease the tension and strain which may result as the gestation moves into the later phases.

Isn't it a wonder to be able to communicate with your little ones even in the womb and begin the journey the moment you know you are expecting? To listen and attune not only to yourself but also with your little miracle in the home of your womb. The journey thus begins... You and Your unborn baby!

By Elizabeth Rutten-Ng, dance movement therapist, Article published in Today's Motherhood Online Magazine, January 2010 Issue.

*The sessions for Embody Your Body & Baby  commences on 3 Nov, email dancetherapy.kmp@gmail.com for sessions details outline and registration form.*

25 October 2010

Fase en Sociaal Emotioneel Ontwikkelings van een baby tot kind

  • 1 : 0-6 mnd ~ eerste adaptatie
  • 2 : 6-18 mnd ~ eerste socilaisatie
  • 3: 13-36 mnd ~ eerste individuatie
  • 4: 3- 7 jaar  ~ eerste identificatie
  • 5: 7-12 jaar ~ realiteitsbewunstwordig
Sociaal Emotioneel Ontwikkeling
  • Emotionele Ontwikkeling
  • Sociale Ontwikkeling
  • Ik- Ontwikkeling
  • Morale Ontwikkeling
  • Psycho-seksuele Ontwikkeling

9 October 2010

Bonding with your Baby Session

Bonding with your baby in movement using baby Sling

In close contact with your baby
Using the KMP in movement

5 October 2010

Personal Therapy as Learning Therapy

The word 'Therapy' can cause some to shirk, some, curiosity. What is exactly therapy? It seems that a lot of people have misused or abused the term, 'Therapy' without knowing what the meaning stands for. 

To be a therapist/psychotherapist (each country and organisation have their own regulation) whether it is a dance/movement therapist/psychotherapist or other creative arts therapist, one has to be trained because one has to be equipped in their field and understand the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). To name a few, the dance/movement therapy education encompasses psychology/psychotherapy, developmental psychology, psychopathology, therapeutic schools and interventions, dance therapy theory and methods, dance therapy group process and dynamics, laban movement analysis, anatomy/kinesiology, research and methodology. Some university may vary in some subjects but generally, an accredited university covers most of the subjects.

When you seek a therapist, make sure you check on his/her credential and background. A dance/ movement session can have therapeutic effect, but it is not a therapy. Dance in its nature has therapeutic elements but it is different from a dance/movement therapy session. 

Hereby I would like to share about the aspects of personal therapy as a learning therapy.

Professional Training - personal therapy as a learning therapy

In the training, most universities have made it compulsory that a trainee undergoes personal therapy during the education. Personal therapy here is also can be known as a form of learning therapy and for personal developments. One would question, 'I don't have major issues in my life, why should I go through personal therapy?' Isn't therapy only for those with real psychological problems? 

Each of us comes from different background, upbringing, social influences, culture, experiences... each of us carries a different lens and view the world in our own perspectives and understanding. Each of us may carry a certain bias and prejudice. It is important and crucial to heighten self-awareness, a deeper understanding and insight of oneself (Rutten-Ng, 2009).

In my final paper, I discovered the importance of identifying, exploring, and in my case, the need to resolve the 'blind spots' (Rutten-Ng, 2009). Freud recognised that a therapist's 'blind spots' can interfere with the materials presented by the clients as we use ourselves as an instrument in the therapy process (Duthiers, 2005). Schoop (2000) also shared 'once we have recognised and dealt with them, they won't have a negative influence on our work.' 

Often, resistance and avoidance will emerge when one has to confront with oneself, especially when it is a non-verbal movement, whether it is a personal therapy, in training or workshops. The idea of having to move can bring about fear of revealing oneself. Sometimes, to express verbally is already difficult, what more if it's a non-verbal movement. According to Casey, the body carries the memory of the traumatic experiences and it contains sensations of painful experiences (Pylvaninen, 2003). From my experience, sometimes, nothing happens; sometimes, resistance and avoidance come; and sometimes, it can be overwhelming. It is to allow what is happening at the present moment to be where one is at.

I chose to do dance/movement therapy for my personal therapy as I believe in the integration of the body, mind, emotion and the spirit (Rutten-Ng, 2009). Dance/movement therapy has certain attributes of the humanistic school of psychotherapy which includes the body, mind and spirit, and 'aims at the awareness and expression of affect or feelings' (Seier & Wastell, 2003, p.39). It uses movement to explore feelings throughout the body, identifies the blockage to feelings and permits expression of the whole person (Seiser & Wastell, 2002).

Movement often brings to light what the body-memory contains. Casey defined it as habitual body-memory which means the active presence of the individual's past in the body and the contents are constantly in the background of human experience (Pylvaninen, 2003).

The benefits of personal therapy are not just for personal growth, process and development (Rutten-Ng, 2009) but also to 'therapists' professional functioning' (Duthiers, 2005). Schoop (2000) pointed out that the knowledge of our own difficulties makes it possible for a therapist to have a better understanding of the difficulties of others. Macran, Stiles,and Smith (1999) also found out that therapists translated their experiences in personal therapy into ways of being a therapist themselves.

I don't just encourage only professional fields who are working with people, be it a teacher, nurse, doctor, psychologist, therapist, coach, caregiver, trainer... to go for personal developments, but anyone who wants to develop a deeper self-awareness and insight towards oneself.

Duithers, L.J. (2005) Countertransference awareness and therapists' use of personal therapy. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses . Alabama, Aubrun. Http://gradworks.umi.com/31/89/3189270.html

Macran, S., Stiles, W.B. & Smith, J.A. (1999). How does personal therapy affect therapists' practice? Journal of Counseling Psychology, 35, 385-390. 

Pylvanainen, P. (2003). Body Image: A tripartite model for use in dance/movement therapy, American Journal of Dance Therapy. 12(1), 39-55.

Rutten-Ng, E. (2009). How does personal therapy affect an intern in becoming a dance/movement practitioner: personal growth and processes. Unpublished paper, Postgraduate programme in dance therapy, Codarts, University for the Arts in Rotterdam.

Schoop, T. (2000). Motion and emotion, American Journal of Dance Therapy, 22(2) 91-101.

Sieiser, L. & Watsell, W. (2002). Interventions and techniques. Buckingham, Philadelphia: Open University Press.

4 October 2010

My Final Paper

How does personal therapy affect an intern in becoming a dance/movement
practitioner: personal growth and processes

This paper is based on a personal reflection of an intern on how personal
therapy has played a role in influencing her in becoming a dance/movement
practitioner with supervision and on-site supervision. It draws upon certain
themes and learning points in her personal therapy and internship where they
were critically reflected from her journals and reflection notes.

Key words:
anger, clashes, dance/movement practitioner, empathy, closure, intern,

internship, personal therapy, placement, supervision, transactional theory

This was my concluding final paper for my final year. If you're interested in reading the paper, please email dancetherapy@gmail.com.
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