​Approaches, Principles, Ethics & Therapeutic Values 

Somatic Movement Dance Therapy is uniquely crafted around the following approaches, principles, and philosophic/therapeutic values. Specialists tend to work in groups, while therapists work one-on-one and in groups. Practitioners often develop their own frameworks or language to hold processes. Below is a broad sweep of the areas practitioners might facilitate. 

  • Experiential anatomy & physiology: The unique blending of objective knowledge (anatomy and physiology) with subjective experience (first-person sensory awareness)
  • Balance sympathetic arousal with parasympathetic release and ease (bringing the nervous system into balance)
  • Connect people with their sensory-motor loop, through slow-time afferent sensing and efferent motor expression
  • Facilitate interoceptive, proprioceptive, cardio-ceptive and gravi-ceptive movement awareness
  • Reduce exteroceptive overwhelm via interoceptive afferent sensing
  • The somatic experiencing of body systems and tissues, enhancing expressive movement range 
  • Apply somatic touch and bodywork (sometimes prior to moving and/or during movement), to support movement integration, spatial awareness, easeful movement, parasympathetic ease, and the reduction of sympathetic arousal and tight muscle tonus
  • Offer processes that support the development of sensory-perceptual movement awareness 
  • Connect people with their sensory-motor loop, through slow-time sensory-perceptual movement awareness, and improvisational/imaginative movement/dance
  • Support cardio-ception and moment-by-moment breath awareness, in support of reducing sympathetic arousal, and integrating mind and body
  • Facilitate movement-by-moment breath awareness and cardio-ception, supporting the vagus nerve into a state of health   
  • Apply somatic touch to release patterns of neuromuscular holding, balance asymmetries, and ease stress and strain
  • Apply experiential anatomy and physiology, bringing consciousness to unconscious body processes and/or tissues that are beneath the threshold of consciousness
  •  Facilitate the release of tension in living tissues, via free-flowing movement patterns, underpinned by subjective/objective awareness of fluid the systems 
  • Release stress and tension in living tissues through the experiential study of gravi-ception, soft-tissue rolling and fascial release
  • Facilitate the experiential study of cardio-ceptive awareness and moment-by-moment breath awareness (exploring coherence and heart resonance) in dyadic and community work
  • Facilitate the experiential study of the imagination as a teleological guide, supporting the psyche’s journey through life’s complexities, stresses and strains
  • Facilitate the experiential study of the imagination and free improvisation, supporting fascial fluidity and skeletal-muscular dexterity. 
  • Augment the fluid nature of the human organism, supporting the free-flow of fluids through tissues
  • Facilitate experiential processes that support the fascia into a state of health, exploring bio-tensegrity
  • Facilitate movement processes that explore ontogenetic and phylogenetic movement patterns 
  • Facilitate somatic movement fundamentals:  gravity, weight, mass, space, breath, heart and movement fluidity
  • Explore the relationship between sensation, emotion, movement, and the imagination
  • Facilitate the experiential study of self-regulation and co-regulation (the experiential study of presence with Self and other)
  • Explore the integration of mind, body and spirit, through moment-by-moment breath awareness, and the oxygenation of living tissues through movement
  • Explore the joy of movement and moving kinaesthetically  
  • Explore the intelligence of the living body and source energy
  • Facilitate the experiential study of consciousness, developed through sensory-perceptual movement awareness, breath awareness, and subjectively investigating the body-mind relationship 
  • Facilitate somatic movement/dance meditations
  •  Facilitate a balance between resting (afferent sensing) and action (efferent motor expression)
  • Offer processes of digestion, reflection and integration after moving/dancing
  • Facilitate the experiential study of presence with Self and other      

         (Williamson 2021: Dance & Somatics: The Healing Art of Self-regulation and Co-regulation & MOVINGSOMA) 

​Somatic Movement Dance Therapists work one-on-one and in groups, and adhere to the following ethical guidelines. 

  • Do not diagnose health conditions, but rather offer a safe space where participant's can learn about self-regulation, reflect on their own health and embodiment, and move towards easeful functioning through self-regulation and co-regulatory support
  • Intentionally craft and offer processes that offer the opportunity for growth and transformation
  • Craft and facilitate movement processes that support transformation and healing (healing in this context does not mean the miraculous recovery from an illness, but rather incremental shifts in one’s psyche towards wholeness and well-being (however small)  
  • Craft and offer movement processes that support the whole person’s psyche (psyche in this context often means body, mind, spirit and soul)
  • Always offer digestive, reflective and integrative processes after moving
  • Always offer dialogical processes after moving
  • Always offer a balance between rest (slow-time afferent sensing) and conscious action (efferent motor expression)
  • Exhibit their certificate at their place of work and/or somewhere on their website
  • Remain up-to date with trainings in the UK and Eire, and seek out extra training when possible, to enhance their practice, offering the best service possible to the client/participant
  •  Seek out supervisory support for own's own psyche, acknowledging that therapists also need support and self-regulation 
  • Charge a fee that honours the skills of one's movement/dance education and training
  • Are fully aware of other types of therapists in the local area, and refer a participant if a particular issue requires multi-modal therapeutic support
  • Always work in a safe clean studio space with appropriate flooring
  • Ask participants/clients to sign touch consent forms and COVID-19 waiver forms
  • Place the art of self-regulation and reflection at the heart of movement/dance practice
  • Educate participants in the art of self-regulatory improvisation and imaginal movement, improving movement range, spatial awareness, movement quality, rhythm and people's creativity.
  • Craft processes around somatic movement fundamentals: gravity, weight, mass, space, time, breath, heart and fluidity
  • Do not discriminate against age, disability, ethnicity, gender or sexuality
  • Can withdraw from working with a client in the interest of safety
  • Protect client confidentiality, unless a safeguarding necessitates disclosure
  • When working one-on-one, make good progress notes for each client session and work within data protection laws
  • When working one-on-one, take a medical history before working with a client, and develop safe processes that support their well-being and unique history
  • Clearly reference and acknowledge sources, when applying taught course materials and practices from independent training programmes into university research degree programmes, publications, public talks, and thesis 
  • Attend annual meetings in person or by zoom to remain up-to-date with the profession as it grows in the United Kingdom and Eire.
  • Declare criminal convictions before registration