Finding Ground with Open Floor
Reviewed By: Killian Strong
Recommended Reading Program: Therapy In Motion
Language availability: English
Killian Strong is a psychotherapist, Open Floor teacher and Therapy in Motion graduate from London, UK. He talks about how he uses the Core Movement Resource “Ground” in his work
I started to dance regularly whilst training as a psychotherapist, and quickly found the classes I attended a vital resource. At my training institute I was engaged in rigorous theoretical and experiential learning, and regular supervision, but this all tended towards a top down, analytical approach. As I began to work with clients I was thrown by the intense embodied countertransference I often experienced – visceral communication that could leave me lost for words and reeling long after the session had ended. Dancing helped me move with client material from the bottom up – to flesh out words and images with sensations, movement, and the concreteness of my bodily experience. Movement helped me discover and recover my embodied presence, my felt-sense of ground, of inner and outer security – often in playful, wild, feeling-full relationship to others. What a gift!
I still dance regularly, I couldn’t imagine practicing as a psychotherapist without the resource of movement, of embodied practice. I work in palliative care and private practice, with adults, children and young people. I try to share the gift of grounded being. Sessions begin and end with attention to our physical presence, what’s beneath us, what supports our weight, our substance – how is it to be together, in our feeling, thinking, sensate bodies. As I continue to hone my embodied presence as a therapist, I can appreciate how my body, my embodied mind, is the instrument of my work. My body language, gestures, the tone, volume and cadence of my speech, my ability to hold a relational thread over time – all contribute to my clients’ sense of feeling grounded and contained. This is a shared ground, a safe enough place from where we can begin to take relational risks, drop into our work together.
In a bustling urban culture where everyday life may already require a degree of dissociation, my clients come with lived experiences of trauma and loss that have left them at odds with their bodily experience. Many have left the rich life of their body, and for many, it becomes apparent that their primary motivation for therapy is a longing to return – to return to embodied feeling, thought, and sensation – to vital and creative living. This return begins, ends, and begins again and again, with finding ground.
Attached media files: