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Movement in working with younger children…and older.

I’m writing this while watching Italy play Germany in the European Football Championships, and admiring the peerless Pirlo in particular, pass and move, pass and move, pass and move.

Movement has been a bit of a motif this week – I went to a Sunday Sermon (check out theschooloflife.com) on Sunday (surprisingly) given by the professional dancer-turned-psychologist Peter Lovatt, who is researching how dance and movement can affect our mood and well-being. He drew our attention to the unfortunate Western mind-body split, whereby the mind is privileged over the body – the serious stuff goes on in the mind, while the body is just the site of the fun stuff. And in keeping with this, as children in school we are told to sit still and stop fidgeting.

But as children we naturally move. I was asked to do a session on using solution-focused practice with younger children this week, and so, fuelled by Peter’s sermon, I emphasised movement. Milton Erickson taught us to utilise whatever the client brings, and children bring a propensity to movement with them. There’s no need to sit still, talking can happen just as well with a child moving around. And physical movement lends itself beautifully to scaling, when one corner of the room can be 0 and the other corner 10, and the child can walk along the diagonal to show the progress they have made towards whatever they are trying to achieve.

The challenge will be to utilise movement with adults as well. We are socialised into stillness, just as we lose our childlike ability to draw, just as we become self-conscious in a whole host of ways. Work in progress – beginning with my relearning to move myself.

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Guy Shennan Associates

Guy Shennan Associates

020 8980 9630 | 07795 176356 | guyshennan@sfpractice.co.uk

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