SF practice & dance
I danced in the New Year with over 50 other people brought together by Bodysurf Scotland (www.bodysurfscotland.co.uk). We began on 28 December and continued until 2 January, by which time it was clear to me that I had just been through one of the most powerfully therapeutic experiences of my life. We came together at different times on different days, morning, afternoon and evening, and most of the time we danced. Occasionally we talked, but very little. We moved together, and we moved on our own, in pairs and in small groups. We said goodbye to 2011 and embodied our intentions for 2012, supported by each other – the support coming from movement rather than words.
Since leaving university aged 21 I have spent all my working life in a world of words (ironic given that I had left with a maths degree). I have worked in the fields of social care and therapy and talking has been the main thing I have done in order to help the people who were my service users and clients. I entered the world of helping in part because I thought that I would be good at it, and because I wanted to use more than the intellect that necessarily had been to the forefront those past few years. I knew there was more to me than that. Yet it has taken me a long time to see that there can be a lot more to my helping than my words.
In October 2009 I encountered the 5 Rhythms for the first time, a ‘movement practice’ developed by Gabrielle Roth, at a Buddhist Retreat Centre on the Kent/Sussex borders. It was a freeing experience, to dance in whichever way one wanted to and was able to. There was a teacher, though he was not telling us how to dance. Rather, he helped us all to move in our own individual ways, by his own movement, a few words, and by the music he played, supporting us through the rhythms of flow, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness.
Sounding new age-y? It did to me too, yet it grabbed me, enough to start making this a weekly practice of mine when I found a class run five minutes from my home every Sunday evening by a wonderful teacher, Jane Belshaw (www.5rhythms-janebelshaw.com). And now the 5 Rhythms and a focus on movement and the body has become an integral part of my life and this in turn has shown me the helping potential of movement.
And now I want to add the words back in – there will be ways of integrating solution focused practice into the dancing – indeed I experienced this with the teachers in Scotland over the New Year. And other people must be thinking along similar lines. At last year’s European Brief Therapy Association (EBTA) conference in Dresden I attended a Biodanza workshop (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4swmq26Pgak) at roughly the same time that a therapeutic dance workshop was taking place at the annual Association of Family Therapy conference in Buxton (reported in Context, February 2012, p45: ‘Mindstep: A whole new mindset for systemic practice’).
I will be writing in more detail about my ideas, hopes and dreams for integrating solution focused practice with movement and dance for the ‘conference book’ of this year’s EBTA conference in Torun, Poland. UPSIDE DOWN – SF PARADIGM – REVOLUTIONS & EVOLUTIONS will be a collection of pieces about practical solution focused applications ‘on the borders of sf assumptions’. I’m not sure if this will be on the border, or deep into another country, but look forward to finding out… and there will be lots more written here on this subject…