The Body Knows : A Group Arts Inquiry

This Group Arts Inquiry is one very close to my heart!

For me, for years, movement was one of the hardest things to do. It still is, a lot of the time.

From conversations I’ve had with people, a lot of people feel the same.

It’s like once we grow up and become adults we only dance if we’re out drinking – literally a lot of people will say that they need to have a drink if they’re going to dance.

Not that this workshop is about dance, but just about moving the body, being in the body, connecting and living in our body.

I think that for a lot of us, we spend a most of our time in our minds, trying to whip our body to our will, rather than inhabiting it with grace and love and acceptance of what is.

Bessel Van der Kolk is a psychiatrist, one of the leading experts in the world on trauma. 

It was he and a few colleagues, working with war veterans, who first discovered and proved the existence of PTSD

Since then he has been working and fighting for the recognition of PTSD, or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which occurs as a result of childhood abuse before the age of 16. 

Bessel van der Kolk wrote a book called The Body Keeps the Score

It speaks of the way that our body stores our trauma, and the way that body, or embodied therapies can help to unlock that trauma, and bring healing.

There are many embodied therapeutic practices that are used to achieve such healing; for example yoga, somatic healing, aqua therapies like watsu, even massage, or martial arts.

Another such embodied practice is Arts Therapy, using embodiment.

To participate in this workshop, you don’t have to dance. Full stop. If you want to dance, of course you can.

Movement can be as simple as a hand gesture. Or the movement of your arm as you walk around. 

It is whatever feels comfortable, and significant to you.

What To Expect?

As part of our group workshop, The Body Knows, we will start out working together. 

We’ll do a few different exercises to get our bodies moving, simple things, just walking around, experiencing our surroundings.

Becoming present in our bodies. 

It’s incredible how much we go through each day without even noticing what is around us. Just spending time doing this can help us to start to feel more present in our bodies. 

As we do this, we will become more aware of what our body might be trying to communicate to us. Each person will then be invited to go through an individual process to listen to their body, to listen to their inner self, to work out what is most important for them to focus on right now.

We will then spend some time doing simple exercises to find a way to express these things in an embodied way. 

You may choose to do this by sitting on a chair and moving your hand. No way is more or less right than any other.

We will work with each other to reflect our embodied findings.

Doing this kind of process in a group is a wonderful, empowering thing; it provides the opportunity to really be with our embodied self in a room with many other embodied selves.

To be with what is!

Over the course of a series of workshops, we will continue to process and work through what needs to be dealt with.

When? Where? How?

Next sessions will be announced soon!

As you let your body speak, you will find yourself more able to be present in the day to day, more able to be free.

That’s all. The body knows. 

I hope you might come to play with us.

– Written by Cara Phillips – 

Photo by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash

Cara is a MIECAT trained Arts Therapist based in Perth, Western Australia. 

She has worked in theatre and film, specialising in devising shows and films with different groups in the community about things that are of interest them.

Cara has strong values around the intersubjective connection between people.  She lives to dance in this space……….