The Discipline
of Authentic Movement


 Authentic Movement
 Somatic Psychotherapy
 Professional Background
 What I Offer
 Contact, Location, Links
 Healing into Wholeness




"...the body-felt connectedness among people [is] profoundly related to the source of our humanity."

Janet Adler


Authentic Movement is a practice that is simple in form, complex and richly textured in the many folds of relationship we experience with ourselves and with others. The intention is to stay present with ourselves, moment by moment, through deep awareness of physical being — of our bodies.

The practice that I teach, which my teacher Janet Adler calls the Discipline of Authentic Movement, is deeply informed by her focus on the evolving development of consciousness – referred to as the inner witness -- through awareness of the embodied experience of our physical beings.

The work is based in the relationship between the mover and the witness. The mover, with eyes closed, listens inwardly to impulses arising, allowing them to unfold in and through the body, surrendering to not knowing what will emerge, surrendering to trust in all that her body knows. The witness also attends to the feelings that arise as she sees the mover, her own embodied experience closely accompanying that of the mover. Afterwards they speak together, bringing their two experiences into consciousness and into relationship.

The compassionate, attentive presence of the external witness allows the mover to feel utterly seen, without judgment, and enables a loosening of the grip of old stories, of the wounds of personal history, of the habitual beliefs that restrict us to a limited experience of ourselves. As the processes sourced in personal psychological history find form again and again in movement patterns, there is the opportunity for integration and healing. In time the mover’s inner witness evolves towards a similar non-judging self-acceptance as that of the external witness, expanding into a much more spacious quality of awareness that can embrace the wholeness of being.

And the mover opens to the possibility of moments of ‘direct experience’ when his experience may widen beyond the personal, expanding into a transpersonal realm of boundless being. As we practise towards the possibility of utter bodily presence in each moment, we may encounter moments of profound knowing of connection with all being. Here there are no words, there is no awareness of a boundaried self, existing in space and time -- there is awareness of only this moment. Here.

Throughout this practice we work with rigour to find language that stays as close to our experience as possible. We seek words that speak directly from experience rather than speak about it, thus bridging body knowing with consciousness. The witness speaks only from her personal experience, avoiding projection, analysis, story. In this way both mover and witness come closer to the essence of their experience, thus closer to themselves. Narratives, interpretations, even images are no longer needed if we are able to stay with what is happening in the moment, to allow our body -- in its many dimensions of experience -- to speak for itself.

Careful attention is given to safety in the practice: the circle that contains the empty space; rituals that provide a ‘holding’ form; the meeting of eyes that acknowledges the shared commitment to being fully present; the practice of thoughtful speech --- all serve to support the preparedness to engage with the unknown.

In individual work the student is the mover, held by the compassionate presence of the witness/teacher. In group work participants have the opportunity, when ready, to practise both as witnesses and movers. The student witness, learning how to speak her experience in relation to the mover, must have the guidance of a teacher who can ensure that the mover continues to feels safe.

I offer teaching to individuals and in various group and retreat formats (see Workshops). All are welcome, both experienced practitioners and those new to this practice. Many therapists and others engaged in relationship-based work find that this practice helps to cultivate clarity in their therapeutic presence, enabling greater awareness of how projections and interpretations may obscure clear seeing of the other and enhancing their ability to attend to embodied detail.

Individual work with a member of the faculty is an essential prerequisite for those who wish, when ready, to embark on the Circles of Four preparation programme for people interested in teaching the Discipline of Authentic Movement.



All content copyright © Fran Lavendel, Photos Adam MacLean and Isabel Nicholson.     
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