Friday, June 6, 2008

Наш воркшоп на Европейском конгрессе по психомоторике прошел с большим успехом!
Вот наши тезисы, вошедшие в сборник :

Our workshop at Europian Congress for Psychomotoricity had great success!
Here is the abstract

Take the roots to live again – psychomotor therapy with migrant women

Kim Peters, Yulia Morozova (Netherlands)

In our workshop we would like to present our work with female migrants having psychological complaints obtaining psychological help in the mental health sector. This psychomotor therapy module was created at the policlinic department of clinic Dijk en Duin. First this module started as a group for refugees, but was later adapted for a larger group of female migrants. The main aim of such a group is to support women who are in the migration/acculturation process and to reduce their complaints. The module consists of ten 2-hour sessions that take place once a week.

As a starting point of this work we take the view of T.Nathan (1986) that any migration could be viewed upon as a traumatic, intrusive event, which disturbs the balance between the external and internal cultural framework that is responsible for decoding of external reality.
The basic principles of this module are:

- gender-specific working (we take into consideration the fact that values and norms for women en men can be different in many cultures)

- empowerment , recourse-oriented approach (recognition of survival strategies of a client and focusing not on deficiencies and shortcomings, but on strong parts, competences and qualities of a client),

- integration of methods and techniques of body-oriented work, movement and creative expression.

As a basic metaphor of the module we have taken the one of uprooting and acquiring roots again. This reflects the process of migration and adaptation in a new land. Any plant being displaced needs time to become rooted and strong. The same is with human beings. The therapist ,as gardener, could provide the conditions and skills to get the power of one self’s body and life back.

Despite the fact that participants of the group came from all over the world (we had women from the Middle East, Africa, South America and Europe), we found that the complaints and a lot of behavioral patterns were very similar.

The most prevalent complaints were headaches, muscle and joint pains, fatigue and malaise, sleeplessness and depressive moods. As M.Meyer (2000) says:”…all networks are shut down in ‘the house of body”. The lack of energy makes the house cold and dark. Over time this house breaks down – the body experiences pain through discomfort in muscles and joints. What the soul cannot express, the body will express.” Therefore, a large part of the sessions is dedicated to all kinds of relaxation exercises (Jacobson, elements of mindfulness training) and massage. Uprooting in life reflects itself also in the body – and we pay a lot of attention to grounding techniques.

Another big theme used in the group is “strength and power”. The feeling of impotency , that women often learned from their cultural stereotypes and painful experiences , influences their behavior and makes adaptation to a new situation even more difficult . In the sessions through movement and body we let them (re)discover what strength is and how they can use it in a way that is functional for their present environment. Here we use as well some movement exercises and symbolic dances as role play and simulation of the situations , where women need to experiment with new experiences of feeling themselves more powerful. The elements of the assertiveness training are also used in our program.

Along with this we use the power of symbolic, metaphoric re-enactment. For many life processes and events there are body- and movement- metaphors, which we can find out also in language. Going through these processes in a metaphorical, symbolic form by moving and dancing, the clients could in this way experience the positive outcome of this process and alternative ways of behavior and coping. And of course through the whole module we try to give the clients an experience of pleasure from movement and body, connected with positive remembrances in moments of the past or with positive images of the future.

Based on self-reports and feedback from therapists in charge of the cases we can conclude that the module has a positive impact on the clients, in their physical and emotional states and in their capabilities to adapt better to new situations.

In our workshop we will tell you more about the existence of this group and theoretical background. We will present some of our exercises and let you experience them.

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