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Module 5: Somatic Psychology

In our work with the body we experience the deep interrelationship between soma, psyche and spirit. Somatic Psychology seeks to give language and meaning to the fluid and organic experiences of somatic process, enabling us to dialogue and interact meaningfully with material arising from the unconscious in bodywork and movement therapy practice.

Tutor: Linda Hartley
Part A: Weekend 1: September 15-18, 2017
Part B: Weekends 2, 3, 4 and 5: November 17-19, 2017; January 19-21, March 23-25, May 18-20, 2018
Times: Fri. and Sat. (and Sun. in September) 10:30am–6:00pm; Sun. (and Mon. in September): 10:00am–5.30pm
Venue: Ashdon, near Cambridge
Parts A and B: £1,250 (£1,180 if full payment for both part A and part B is received eight weeks before the course begins
Part A only: £312.50
Part B only: £937.50

Registration: Now Closed.


This Module can be taken as CPD by professionals and students in related fields of practice. Participants will have either completed Module 1 of the Diploma Programme: Infant Movement Development; or will have studied for at least 100 hours in some other approach to somatic movement or dance movement therapy. Please apply with details of relevant study and professional practice.

It is possible to take Part A or Part B alone, but together they form a complete course of study.

Those who have taken the Embodiment of Spirit workshop previously may repeat this for half the current fee (£156.25)

Part A of the module will explore:

  • embryology and the roots of the sense of self and attachment patterns

Part B will explore:

  • psychological models emerging out of somatic and perinatal process, including both theory and practice
  • the role of the therapist and their embodied presence in relationship to the client, including basic skills of listening, supporting, witnessing, containing, processing and integrating

Part A. Embryology and Attachment

1. Embodiment of Spirit: an Embryological Journey

  • The process of development from conception through the first few weeks of embryological life
  • Movement and body meditations to explore the embodiment of cells, membranes, tissues and fluids, engaging with the unfolding of form through which the embryonic sense of self begins to emerge
  • Asking what embodiment means to us as human beings, we will consider how the human embryo embodies spirit
  • The origins of relational patterns as they manifest in the unfolding patterns of movement will be explored

Part B. Psychological Models: Theory and Practice

2. Body, Feelings, Mind: Embryology and the Body Systems

  • The splitting and integration of body, feelings and mind, with reference to the embryological layers (Boadella) and the expressive and shadow functions of the body systems.

3. Perinatal Process: Development of Sub-personalities

  • The influence of perinatal experience on the development of the will and personality patterns, with reference to Grof’s basic perinatal matrix
  • The development of sub-personalities, their somatic manifestations, and methods of working with them through inner body dialogue, identification and dis-identification, and movement process

4. Development of the Sense of Self: Neuroscience and Trauma work

  • The development of the senses of self, with particular reference to Stern’s work, in relation to Infant Movement Development and Authentic Movement practice
  • Attachment theory and neuroscience; how early experiences of attachment and loss affect brain development: the implications for bodywork and somatic movement therapy
  • Working with trauma

5. Movement Process Work: the Body as Shadow

  • The body as shadow: movement Process Work and the theory of the Dreambody (Mindell)
  • The Role of the Therapist and their Embodied Presence
  • The dance of relationship: the therapist’s embodied presence as container and as information: transference and countertransference will be addressed
  • The many levels of listening: gathering information from verbal and non-verbal messages, holding creative tension, and creating a context for the work
  • Empathy, compassionate witnessing, resonance and clear seeing.

For more information the other modules, please click the links below:

Module 1: Infant Movement Development

Module 2: Authentic Movement and Therapeutic Presence

Module 3: Embodied Anatomy and Movement Re-patterning: Body Systems 1

Module 4: Embodied Anatomy and Movement Re-patterning: Body Systems 2