I had an opportunity to teach dance movement therapy trainees in person in New Zealand, Aotearoa in August. I flew into Auckland and had hectic days, meeting my colleagues and students and visiting a museum. This year I learnt so much about bicultural education that is strongly rooted in Aotearoa. My first experience of encountering a Māori culture was when I was 16 and learnt a Haka dance in Christchurch. I was fascinated by the strength, energy, and expression of its dance, that you see in a rugby game – often stomping, beating the chest, sticking the tongue out. This time I visited the Auckland War Museum, to learn the history and culture of Māori and watched their performance. What I did NOT know about their dance is that they also have gentle, sustained and light movements.
Living in Australia and educating myself about the history, cultures and present situations of Aboriginal and Torres Islander people feel really essential to me; I have become more aware of the importance of incorporating cultural understanding into my work and life in general. I also understood many differences between Australia and NZ in terms of bicultural education. For example, I was fascinated to watch children’s TV programs in Māori and I felt the culture is in the life of Kiwis. I am hoping to learn more about the First Nations Australians’ cultures in my 4th year down under.
I continue to offer dance movement therapy individual sessions to children and adults. I am working with people with traumas more and it is becoming my central interest too. As trauma is often stored in the body (Van der Kolk, 2015), bodily interventions are necessary to process emotions through the body. Trauma gets stored in its implicit memory of the right brain when the child experiences trauma and abuse before learning to speak (Esquivel & the Adoption Exchange, 2018). These experiences will be unresolved unless bodily processed. Dance Movement Therapy focuses on the integration of the body and mind and hence it has been one of the effective interventions for trauma thrivers (Dieterich-Hartwell & Melsom, 2022).
I have been planning to start a few therapy groups. Group therapy is a different process from an individual one as group brings more awareness of our relationship to others. It is a mini society that is created in group therapy. One can learn how to be on your own or with others. If you are interested in being part of the group to process your personal stuff, please get in touch with me. I am running a group for womxn who would like to process personal stuff through the moving body. The group is called RISE (Resilience, Independence, Self-Care and Empowerment). Please register your interest here.
Somatic Body Mapping – 6th and & 7th October 2023
I am going to offer a Somatic Body Mapping Intensive on the 6th and 7th of October 2023. Please register your interest if you would like to explore your personal journey through movements and artmaking. Details are here.
Move & Connect – 26th October and 23rd November 2023 at Room 7, Mitcham Community Centre.
I continue to offer clinical supervision for creative arts therapists, psychotherapists and other allied health professionals.
Dieterich-Hartwell, R. & Melsom, A.M. (2022). Dance/Movement Therapy for Trauma Survivors. Theoretical, Clinical, and Cultural Perspectives. Routledge.
Esquivel, A. & The Adoption Exchange (2018). How Preverbal Trauma Affects Present Day Regulation. Retrieved 27/02/2023 from How Preverbal Trauma Affects Present-Day Regulation (s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com)
Van der Kolk, B(2015). The Body Keeps the Score. Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma. Penguin UK.