Somatics as politics

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  1. 1. Somatics as politics Elena Grebenyuk, Moscow 4th Europe + Conference of Narrative Therapy & Community Work Barcelona, July 2016
  2. 2. If Personal is political* Psychotherapy is political What power relations do we practice in regard to the body in personal life and psychotherapeutic context? *The politics is the study or practice of the distribution of power and resources within a given community as well as the interrelationships between communities. After Foucault and other poststructuralist ideas we are attentive to the modern power practices in everyday relations.
  3. 3. How do we embody our values and principles in relation to our bodies? Choose one of your life values or principles and share about your ways of its application in body landscape
  4. 4. What ideas and principles about the body are dominating in our culture? Choose one of these ideas and share about your position in relation to it
  5. 5. Some of the ideas in Western culture Body/mind split Oppression & control over the body Objectification of the body What are the effects of these ideas? What possibilities and restrictions do they bring to psychotherapy?
  6. 6. What if they habituate us somehow to the normality of splitting, oppression and objectification?
  7. 7. Somatics* as an alternative way to approach the body
  8. 8. *Somatics is a general term for a branch of approaches, committed to the principle of conscious experience of the human body. It was proposed by Thomas Hanna as "the field which studies the soma: namely, the body as perceived from within by first- person perception" in 1970s. These approaches started to appear much earlier, from the beginning of the 20-th century as a counter-cultural movement, resisting the domination of the body-mind split in Western culture.
  9. 9. Some of the principles in somatic practices
  10. 10. Experiential learning Involves scientific information not as a collection of facts, but as a source for the personal exploration and awareness
  11. 11. Dialogical learning Attention to the relationship in the dyads and groups
  12. 12. The learning process involves perception, movement, sensation, imagination, sensing, cognition, interaction
  13. 13. Looking for efficient, intelligent postures and ways of movement The idea of re-patterning
  14. 14. The creative usage of different mediums: art techniques, scientific information, verbal leading, touch, sound, images and metaphors
  15. 15. What ideas and principles about the body are dominating in somatic field? Choose one of these ideas and share about your position in relation to it
  16. 16. Somatics as politics? Experience of conscious unpacking of how our bodies were constructed by environment, discourses and social practices It can strengthen the sensitivity to violence and oppression, ability to differentiate and respond Multiplicity, diversity and fluidity of experiencing the body as a form of a liberation Way to question our isolation, to experience the interconnectedness of inner and outer, me and another, body and planet, - finding new possibilities for being in this relationship Body, movement and dance as a way to respond to social issues
  17. 17. This body resists then, not because it contains some essential drive, principle, or need which urges the person to challenge unfitting social demands, but by virtue of its excess and overflowing of societys prescriptions Michael Guilfoyle The person in narrative therapy. A post-structural, Foucauldian account
  18. 18. The goal, as we heighten sensual awareness of the environment and track our perceptual biases, is to expand our ability to respond, our response-ability, and ultimately recognize ourselves as active participants in the world Andrea Olsen Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide
  19. 19. Somatics meets narrative practice Value closeness We can treat the narrative practice and somatics as approaches, involved to the larger field of questioning the processes of social construction and power relations. They support the values of the diversity, respect, enriching relationships and personal agency.
  20. 20. Somatics meets narrative practice Mutual exchange As well as somatics can offer some methods for involving the body, narrative practice invites some poststructuralist ideas, which can help the somatic practitioner to keep decentered position and work with meanings and social issues.
  21. 21. Formats of the practical work Individual sessions Connecting the body, personal narrative and cultural context Conflict resolution Exploration of the relationships through movement and value issues Group work Group explorations of body & movement grounded into preferred stories; explorations of social constructions, grounded into body& movement Community work Support of communities through joint movement, inquiry and development of the interactions.
  22. 22. Thanks to my peer practice group, Maria Lebesheva and Anastasia Maltseva for the photographs


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