At the Threshold

Carolyn Grant Fay
Houston, Texas, USA
Honorary Member

When introducing dance/movement as a form of active imagination, I begin by inviting the person to relax, with eyes closed. From such a lowered state of consciousness, one is more easily able to allow the body to move spontaneously (authentic movement). Through inner-directed movement, the body is manifesting messages from the unconscious. At the same time, one develops the capacity to be aware of the emerging gestures and themes and to amplify them in movement, interacting consciously with the impulses and images. Paraphrasing Mary Whitehouse, the core of the movement experience is the sensation of moving and being moved – the coming together of what the mover is doing and what is happening to her/him. Verbally processing this experience leads to further and deeper understanding.

My main role in working with people is to be a witness, which means I’m there with them and I observe what they are doing with all of my senses. I really join with them. I participate in their experience with them. And then through talking with me afterwards, they may be able to look and understand more clearly what their experience means for them. This is not to say I interpret the movement for them. I can’t do that. I simply ask questions and offer small observations. Therapists cannot tell clients what they need to know. I’ve made this mistake more than once when I see something so important coming up in a person’s life and I don’t have the patience to wait and let them see it for themselves. But one must wait, because they need to have the insight. They need to do the work. They need to accept what comes up. Even though I sometimes feel I know what is going to happen in the future, I just have to hold it. And wait. And ask questions.

In the pre-congress workshop in Barcelona, I showed a video that includes my work with individuals and a group, using the expressive arts (writing, drawing, painting, dancing, sculpting, working in sand) in the context of psychotherapy and psychological development. In the video, we can see how symbolic expression is interwoven with reflection and discussion, as individuals discover a deeper experience of themselves.