I am writing from Boston, two weeks into the three-week residency here at Lesley University in the master’s program in Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) / Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Never before have I had an opportunity to live and learn in this manner and I am reaping the rewards of this time while missing everyone and everything that makes our beautiful Ojai so special. I am staying with my first cousin, Sue, and her family – which is a blessing to me on multiple levels. Our fathers, both long gone from this earth, were brothers split by an eight-year difference in age; this time is meaningful in developing our relationship in a more grounded, grown-up sort of way.
Week one was disorienting, away from the routines and rhythms of my daily life with my own sweet family and filled with orientation programming as well as reflection on my own typical life. As Sue said to me when I got here, “You are a free agent. Enjoy the time!” A group from our Lesley DMT cohort went to the Dance Complex to take Bhangra during week 2 and LOVED it. Later last week, I was sidelined with bronchitis and was down for the count after resting and recuperating; I am now back to health.
Taking the Theories and Practice of Dance Movement Therapy course during the first half of week two has been the most valuable parts of my time here. I got a glimpse of what is to come in years two and three of our summer studies and so appreciated finding resonance in the key premises of the Dance Movement Therapy field:
- Mind and body and spirit are inextricably interconnected.
- Movement is a universal language and expresses the human experience beyond words.
- The body and movement reflect the emotional authentic self.
- The body impacts the mind and the mind impacts the body.
- Movement is our first language.
While I feel like I “knew” some amount of this knowledge before coming, getting the greater context of this knowledge and the history and development of this field is powerful. The DMT field is young and there is much to learn and much to contribute. The work from leaders such as Norma Canner, Marion Chase, Mary Whitehouse and Wilhelm Reich opens the door for me to learn more about myself to understand my own body story. It’s an exciting time with possibilities germinating in my mind about how to connect the dots meaningfully in the future.
We closed last week with a seminar on Exploring Power, Privilege and Oppression. Lots to say on that valuable experience in another post. Next week is a full-course on Expressive Arts Therapies with our fellow music, drama and art therapists-in-training.
I will close with gratitude for all of you in the collaborative as well as Anna Kotula and Taylor Koester for taking my Saturday morning classes through August 3. Major hugs to my hubby and kids for their love and support.
I hope to see you all at the upcoming August 22nd Dance Impact Collaborative social! Lots more to say in person.