Authentic Movement as a Practice for Wellbeing

Bacon, J. (2017) Authentic Movement as a Practice for Wellbeing. In: The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeing. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 148-164. ISBN 9780199949298

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Dance movement psychotherapists and practitioners who work with the somatic practice of Authentic Movement usually employ a holistic notion of wellbeing that includes psyche, soma and spirit. This approach is, I believe, crucial to the sense of wellbeing often generated. Authentic Movement was developed in the 1950s by movement therapist Mary Starks Whitehouse as an expressive and improvised movement practice which she originally called ‘movement in depth’ (Whitehouse, 1979/1999) and was based on the theories of C. G. Jung. Her intention was to help individuals find their ‘authentic’ moving self and she discovered that this was deeply liberating and transforming for those who worked with her. In Authentic Movement we develop appropriate strategies to engage the body as moving container (Adler 2002) as well as articulation strategies for bringing moving experiences into language. These allow the participant to experience a sense of ‘authenticity’ that is beyond current ego consciousness. Drawing on the writing of Jung and Heidegger and Authentic Movement practitioner Janet Adler provides a frame for understanding Authentic Movement as an embodied unfolding experience that, in and of itself, is a philosophy. The aim in this chapter is to explore Authentic Movement as philosophy and in relation to these philosophical principles in order to more fully understand how this practice might help transform trauma and engender well-being.

Publication Type: Book Sections
Additional Information: Part I Dance and the Body
Uncontrolled Keywords: authenticity, Authentic Movement, mystical, philosophy, trauma, direct experience, body
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV1580 Dance
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general > NX165 Psychological aspects
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC435 Psychiatry > RC475 Theraputics. Pyschotherapy > RC489 Arts therapy
Divisions: Academic Areas > Department of Dance
Depositing User: Clare Parfitt
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2019 15:10
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2019 14:15

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