I ran a session for MA Dance & Somatic Well-being students at the weekend at UCLAN in Preston.

I was invited to share my work as a practitioner working in the field. The experiential session focused on the Somatic Resources I use.




Here’s a taster of some of what was included:

An overview of how my work has developed over the last 20 years.

Beginning in Community Mental Health, I first noticed the interplay between movement and emotions. How we feel affecting how we move, and how we move affecting how we feel. Posture, physical activity levels and how our nervous systems are set up to be either subdued, inwardly focused, or active and outwardly focused. I was beginning to use the potential that a greater connection with the body has for making a difference in how we experience life. Getting moving can lift us up and put us back on our feet.

I then described for the students how from Mental Health Social Work I did my initial movement training in the US. I was introduced to a range of different perspectives to movement and the body and how these can support change in our lives. Learning about the impact these can have on us as individuals, on our relationships, on how we communicate and live, and so ripple out to create wider social change.

On returning to the UK I found ways to offer my version of this through Community Arts – working with diverse groups of children, older people, those with disabilities and people who use mental health services. Each person with their own starting point.

I went on to speak about  how I developed a specialism in movement in Early Years Education, furthering my training in Integrative Bodywork & Movement Therapy. And how more recently I am offering my skills in the field of Fostering & Adoption, supporting children in healing the sometimes shaky foundations of their early life.

Movement Explorations that shared the resources that are at the heart of my work:

  • Embodiment & Presence (being in the here and now, responsive and centered),
  • Tuning into the Physiological through the regulation of the Nervous System (calming or enlivening),
  • Developing Responsive Relationships, to enable dialogue through skills to tune in to another.


Throughout the session we had time to move, reflect and share.

Ways of Working Image



We explored working with boundaries – the edges that children need to encounter that so often present as difficulties for the adult world, and yet are fundamental to children having a sense of self and safety to move off from.





Orientation Map image





I gave examples of working with children’s ‘maps’, their orientation in the space we’re working in, and how this reflects their internal sense of themselves and their life experience.

We touched on responding to the images that come up in movement play, making these tangible through art work, enabling children’s stories to be told, and new understanding and choices explored.



The session closed with some thoughts about how I find ways to sustain my work. I offered some recommendations about peer practice, support and life balance, acknowleding how somatic practitioners are at the forefront of new ways of using movement and body in the wider culture.


We covered a lot of ground! Many thanks to Penny Collinson, Course Leader, for inviting me, and to the group for being so receptive and engaged. I wish them well in developing their own somatic resources to take out into the wider world.