Dancing Dialogues: Combining Theoretical Approaches
We were so inspired by the depth of the conversations amongst members at our professional exchange weekend this year! We wanted to share a recap of what took place in each session, for those of you who might have missed it!
Facilitators Meghan Thom, Laurie Potter, and Karen Bradley engaged participants in discussion around the integration of various theoretical frameworks and modalities with DMT. A few of the specific frameworks explored included Somatic Experiencing, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, and the integration of LMA and Somatic Therapy.
Some of the questions asked were:
Do your clients come to you for therapy, and you introduce movement; or do they come to you for movement, and you introduce therapy?
Where does DMT end and Somatics begin?
How might the language we use as practitioners empower a client in the healing process?
Participants discussed the importance of finding a common language to connect with the client, regardless of the theoretical framework being engaged. Asking clients to "Speak from the Heart", for example, might be a more attuned way of asking someone to drop into their embodied awareness if that language is more culturally appropriate to them. The importance of language and making theory accessible to the body, through the body using somatic techniques was emphasized.
Karen offered a movement activity to connect the group and shared an anecdote from a session she had with Sharon Chaiklin, who reminded her of the importance of Indirect Space from our LMA toolkit to DMT. Other overlaps between Somatics and DMT discussed included sharing the practice of Authentic Movement, the exploration of the body by bringing unconscious habits to the forefront of consciousness, a holistic approach, and the social joy of movement.
Participants discussed some of their client work and their enthusiasm for combining DMT with somatic approaches and how this enables collaboration with adjacent professionals in a range of settings from psychiatric, to medical, to cultural. Having an understanding of the physical body as well as diverse psychological and psychodynamic approaches is unique to a DMT's standard of practice.
Issues that emerge when working with clients alongside caregivers or translators was also briefly discussed. The unconscious habits of privilege, and recognizing potential micro-oppressions in our non-verbal communication with clients, such as who we are making eye contact with through the session, is part of our ongoing work to be truly inclusive therapists, empowering all bodies and abilities.
We look forward to continuing these important conversations as we develop standards of practice for the Canadian context. The use of touch for example and integrations from other modalities are important dancing dialogues to continue!
Read about other sessions: