Bodywork as dance and movement therapy – Q&A for professionals and future therapists

Where does the term „bodywork” originally come from?

In the US and Western Europe, the expression „bodywork” is used for various therapies involved touch, e.g. massage, fascial manipulation, body consciousness techniques and psychotherapy. Each and every technique is based on the assumption that there can be blocks in the human body hindering the free flow of energy. These blocks result in diseases and by releasing the blocks, we can regain our health.

 

What are the similarities and differences between bodywork and other dance and movement therapies?

According to the definition of ADTA (American Dance Therapy Association), dance therapy is the psychotherapeutical use of movements which support the emotional, social, cognitive and somatic integration of an individual.

Bodywork also fits this description. In Hungary, we can differentiate between two main dance therapy trends at the moment. Márta Merényi’s method is psychoanalytical by nature and applies psychodynamic models. The other main trend is called Integral Expression and Dance Therapy. It was developed by the German psychologist Wilfried Gütler and it is humanistic by nature. It is “integral” not merely due to its approach and methodology: it views a human being holistically – as one whole of body, mind and soul.

Just like the most dance and movement therapy methods, bodywork focuses on preverbal blocks. One major difference is, though, that prenatal traumas, incarnation and the integration of transpersonal realms have also a major role in bodywork. Thus, bodywork takes one step further from Integral Expression and Dance Therapy by placing it in a wider spectrum.

 

What kind of psychological approach is bodywork based on?

Bodywork is fundamentally formed by Integral Psychology. By understanding the development of human consciousness, techniques are selected to match the given section of consciousness.

 

What kind of further methods and trends are present in bodywork therapy?

Meditation: Just like meditation, bodywork is grounded on consciousness, awareness and body consciousness. Unlike yoga practitioners, here we don’t work with pre-defined movements and their energetic, emotional and cognitive effects. Just the other way around: we work with the energies and emotions of our personality and self to make our body move – similarly to meditation.

Yoga: In a bodywork process, we work with the physical body as well as with the prana, emotional and mental bodies. As we can experience in yoga, lots of things can change and evolve energetically – even if we are not always aware of them.

 

Bodywork instructions and processes can contain elements of the following methods:

 

  • KIP
  • Ego-state
  • Psychodrama
  • Family constellation (by Bert Hellinger)
  • NLP

What happens in a bodywork process?

By moving, touching and being touched, we might uncover earlier experiences that have their traces in our body. By processing these memories, we can manage current blocks. In this method, we focus on both intrapersonal and interpersonal dimensions. The most important elements of this method are: arrival in the body, group formation, search for resource (trust, self-power) and the integration of the various parts of the self and also of consciousness. After each process, there is room for verbalization and the cognitive realization of the very experiences.  

Who is bodywork advised for?

Bodywork is advised for the ones with healthy personality and for those who are spiritual seekers. In case of mental disorders, the psychoanalytical methodology of Márta Merényi can provide adequate and secure facilitation.

…One major difference is, though, that prenatal traumas, incarnation and the integration of transpersonal realms have also a major role in bodywork. Thus, bodywork takes one step further from Integral Expression and Dance Therapy by placing it in a wider spectrum…

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