Foundations of Dance Movement Psychotherapy Practice in Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities: ‘when disabilities disappear’

Butte, Celine and Unkovich, Geoffery (2009) Foundations of Dance Movement Psychotherapy Practice in Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities: ‘when disabilities disappear’. e-motion, XIX - (2). pp. 25-33. ISSN 1460-1281


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Introduction This article discusses the mode of practice co-constructed by two Dance Movement Psychotherapists for co-facilitating long-term Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) sessions with a closed group of adults in a Learning Disability day centre for a London Primary Care Trust. We present our Foundations of Practice with clients diagnosed with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) and an ethos for group-work (Shotter 1994: p39) established over time. We view this as the beginning of our journey in writing about our professional relationship with this client group, and we hope that it will stimulate others to contribute to the writing and development of practice-based-evidence for working with adults with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities. Coming from a place of curiosity regarding our practice with non-verbal clients, we have reflected on our own perceived learning and physical disabilities. This reflection has been a means for us to recognise the roots of our practice as co-working DMPs with adults with PMLD. In this paper, we bring to light and put some words on what may be one of the most non-verbal psychotherapeutic relationships. We acknowledge how our clients may be perceived in society, and the implication of having a PMLD diagnosis. We name the dichotomy between the subjectivity and authority inherent to our role as DMPs, and our intention to be curious and open to our clients’ unique way of expressing themselves. Recognising these positions and locating our practice within a social constructionist framework we identify tools and techniques which inform our work. Movement improvisation offers us a means to ground our practice within current dance and psychotherapeutic theory. Considering breath as a vital and natural life giving experience inherent to all beings, we reflect on our roles as DMPs with this client group, particularly on the therapist’s choices in his/her relationship with adults with PMLD. The clients considered in this paper are adults diagnosed with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities, individuals who hold multiple complex diagnoses; involving neurological, physiological and physical impairment together with mental health diagnosis.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2011 15:56
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2017 13:40


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