Curative power of movement

November 24, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 05:11 am IST

An international conference opening tomorrow in Bengaluru will focus on the mind-body alignment

“We move in a sea of gravity, not a word or an idea, but an experience. No amount of looking on can substitute this experience of gravity, wishing against it, giving in to it and finally putting both together to find balance. The growing consciousness of the body is so often crushed as the adult world makes increasing demands on the development of the intellect.” Those are the words of dance therapist Janet Adler, who emphasised on the importance of the body-mind connection in the process of growth.

The fourth International Conference, ‘Multifaceted Movement Approaches,’ presented by Creative Movement Therapy Association of India (CMTAI) in association with Department of Psychology, Christ University, Bangaluru, aims to address the important subject of ‘Enhancing the Mind-Body Nexus’, by bringing together a curated handful of researchers and practitioners from the field, to a relevant audience.

The two-day conference, scheduled on November 25 and 26, at Christ University, will host panel discussions, film screenings, experiential sessions, informal group reflections and a movement JAM, to present the psychotherapeutic use of movement through psychological theories and research in the field of Dance Movement Therapy (DMT), Expressive Art therapy and other body based approaches.

A peek into what the conference holds in store looks exciting and promising.

Dance as a therapy

Centered around movement, the session by Reetu Jain, will focus on what is therapeutic about dance for participants new to dance therapy and the session by Tarana Khatri will examine how the Kestenberg movement analysis helps understand the movement dynamics and structure within each individual.

‘Active Imagination Using Movement’ by Brinda Jacob Janvrin will urge participants to work with expressive arts and authentic movement techniques to explore dream images.

‘Role of the Embodied Therapist in Movement Psychotherapy’ by Preetha Ramasubramanian will touch upon the skills that Dance Movement Psychotherapists build within themselves to aid their work in responding to the client’s non-verbal communication.

Extending the movement loop further, Tripura Kashyap’s session will introduce therapeutic dance as a cross-curricular activity in classroom settings and the ‘Gesture & Dance in Storytelling Therapy’ by Dr. Eric Miller, would experientially lead participants to explore emotions, situations and characters of stories through posing and movement of their bodies.

Taking the movement connection further into the territory of drama therapy, in the session by Anshuma Kshetrapal, participants will learn how the ancient art of storytelling has been rejuvenated in drama and movement psychotherapy and in ‘Letting the Body Lead Therapeutic Work’ by Maitri Gopalakrishna, participants will explore what it would mean to actually let the body lead our work and emote first.

With drama therapy as the core, a variety of approaches will be visited. ‘Embodiment in Shadow Theatre’ by Evan Hastings will introduce participants to participatory shadow theatre, while Mike Clarke’s session will consider how metaphor and story can be employed to facilitate a safe space for clients to encounter and embody their shadow. Parasuram Ramamoorthy’s session will aim to further the understanding of the relationship between drama and empathy and their connect with life.

Magdalene Jeyarathnam’s session will help explain how movement and psychodrama work together to enable the protagonist gain insights and cope with challenging life situations and Vanitha Chandrasegaran’s ‘The Hero’s Journey’ will inspire to begin or continue the process of being the ‘Hero’ in our own lives.

The participants will experience, discuss and explore the key components of presence-oriented psychotherapy in Anubha Doshi’s ‘Mindfulness and Therapeutic Presence for Practitioners’ and Krupa Jhaveri’s session will introduce henna tradition as a tool for art therapy. In addition to movement and sessions related to drama and visual arts therapy , the sessions by Ritu Shree, Katia Verreault and Charitra Balal, extend to DMT for families of Children with Autism, Psycho-support in communities and Art psychotherapy & Family constellation work respectively.

The session by Nina Cherla gives an introduction on how to use music therapeutically and ‘The Puzzle of Progress in Expressive Arts Therapies’ by Avantika Malhautra addresses the question ‘Does therapy require a leap of faith or can it be defined and measured in outcomes?’

Professional network

“The response has been growing with the conferences that were held for the past three year in New Delhi, Bangalore and Pune respectively. The conference allows one to invest in their own growth,” says Tripura Kashyap, movement therapist, on behalf of the team that has curated the conference.

“Apart from skill building and upgrading, networking with professionals is an equally important purpose for attending the conference. It will be beneficial to Institution Heads, Thought Leaders and Corporate Heads, in addition to practitioners. We have given each session the time to allow internalisation of knowledge shared across the two days of the conference,” she adds.

The boundaries, which define movement, drama and visual arts, have blurred, the accent shifting to staying connected.

The response has been growing with the last three year’s conferences in New Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune respectively. The conference allows one to invest in their own growth -Tripura Kashyap,Movement Therapist,

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