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About Authentic Movement

"Authentic Movement has provided me with a safe environment to experience my body and soul."
— Marion Bayard, MFT

Lysa Castro, core Body Tales instructor, offers classes, workshops and private sessions in Authentic Movement, both as a separate practice and in combination with Body Tales.

Authentic Movement is a dance therapy form in which participants close their eyes and enter into movement to explore and integrate conscious and unconscious aspects of self. Each participant has protected time and space for developing relationship with their own movement, emotions, sensations, body symptoms, thoughts and creative resources.

Clear and respectful guidelines support each individual's expression and autonomy. With this safety, participants expand their capacity to move and be moved, develop intimacy with self and others, and have opportunities to reflect on and articulate their experiences.

"Lysa's grounded, gentle and compassionate presence has allowed me to open my heart, trust the process and access the body's wisdom."
— Nicki Koethner, MFT

Authentic Movement was pioneered by Mary Starks Whitehouse in the 1950s and further developed by Janet Adler, PhD. Whitehouse integrated Carl Jung's principles of "active imagination" with modern dance. Adler built on Whitehouse's work, contributing many of the signature characteristics of Authentic Movement practiced internationally today.

An egalitarian practice based on self-direction and mutual respect, the form of Authentic Movement continues to evolve as each person who steps into it brings her or his unique needs and body wisdom.

"Authentic Movement has changed me permanently, opening up playfulness and feeling and a sense of connection. I feel more present with people in general. There is more of me there to be there — a deepening of intimacy and of friendships, more humor, more spontaneity, and a sense of possibility."
— Suzanne, UC Berkeley Professor

Elements of Authentic Movement

The following elements of Authentic Movement support exploration, expression and integration:

Moving & Sounding
Working without music, participants close their eyes and follow their body's impulses for movement and sound. Moving alone or in contact with others, participants allow inner promptings to come forth in a full range of expression: rest and play, singing and silence, dancing and meditation, laughter and tears, stillness and stomping, and so on.

Participants move and sound in a safe and supportive space while being witnessed. Witnessing is the practice of giving full attention and support to the person moving, while staying grounded and present. The facilitator serves as witness, attentively and non-judgmentally seeing and hearing the movers. Sometimes participants work in pairs and exchange roles as mover and witness.

Drawing & Writing
Participants use drawing and writing after movement time to reflect on and help integrate what they have experienced. Sometimes people draw with their eyes closed or with their non-dominant hand.

After moving, movers can share their experiences, either with a partner or with the group, and may also choose to share their drawing or writing. At the mover's request, witnesses describe what they have seen and heard in empathetic and non-interpretative language.

AM/BT — Similarities & Differences