- December 4, 2019
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I asked Roxana Pana, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist and sexologist in training to write a few words about dance therapy seen from the perspective of her professional experience, but also after having participated in the I Dance You workshops which integrate practices from dance therapy. Here’s what she told us:
It is no news that our body has its own memory and that it stores emotions, states, feelings, experiences. But it also stores love, longing, trauma and unconscious emotional intensity.
The science that deals with these things is called psychosomatic. It is known that traumas and unintegrated experiences are often somatized in the body. A strong will can lead to stomach problems, while fears can lead to somatization in the kidney area. Everything that we cannot pass from the unconscious to the conscious can remain trapped in the body. The underdevelopment of the capacity of consciousness on one’s own self and the neglect of processes to the conscious can lead to somatization.
Why is body dance therapy important? Because it precisely accesses these unconscious processes accumulated in the body and releases them. It’s like when we have a water balloon ready to break and we slowly release the water through the hole in the balloon. The balloon does not break but is released. The same thing happens with body somatization. The body does not accumulate unmanaged emotions and feelings but allows them to manifest in a secure environment. And sometimes high intensity feelings can occur in our body and soul, from deep sadness to longings of unknown or forgotten things, unearthly love and gratitude for one’s existence.
The bodily expression through dance brings us closer to mental health because our body becomes a modulator of our unconscious experiences. And we do not always need to rationally justify the things we live. Sometimes they remain states that we cannot put into words. When the mouth no longer generates words, the body generates movements. Dance therapy accesses the memory of the body from the womb to the present and wants to facilitate healing from the body to the mind.
As a participant in the dance sessions in which dance therapy practices were integrated, facilitated by Anamaria Guguian, I experienced different states which reached points of high emotional intensity. I was able to accept this human vulnerability that manifests in me through the vehicle that is my body. I have reached states of catharsis where latent emotions related to fragility and beauty have been released at the same time, of our condition as humans. I felt that I could connect invisibly to something bigger as well as to the people around me. I got the courage to express what I feel, I felt connected to both myself and others, I felt that I had a role as a piece in this great puzzle, and I felt able to manage this whole process and integrate it.
If psychotherapy is most often focused on extracting maladaptive conclusions about life from the unconscious mind , and very rarely is it related to corporeality, dance therapy goes backwards, from the body to the unconscious experiences. And it often works because we cannot extract one of our bodies from a context in which they interact. Here we talk about our 5 most important bodies: the physical body, the energetic body, the mental body, the emotional and the spiritual body.
As a method of therapy, I always recommend alternating psychotherapy with a body technique since we function as a system of interconnected bodies. Whether it is dance, yoga or other practices that help us connect with ourselves, it is important to work both from the outside to the inside and vice versa at the same time. In this way, the healing effect is complete.
Article written by Roxana Pana, psychotherapist, psychologist and sexologist in training, for I Dance You,