Frequently Asked Questions
What is embodiment?
To embody is to integrate or incorporate something, to give tangible form to a quality, feeling, or idea. To fully inhabit this single information system that is the body/mind is to embody a sense of self.
Why do “body work” as part of personal growth work?
We do it to integrate and relate to what we know. Like C.G. Jung’s active imagination, it gives external form to what is happening internally.
How does an individual session in expressive movement/somatics differ from a group session?
In individual sessions, I do one-on-one witnessing and coaching that responds to where you are and what you bring to the session. If you feel hesitant about sharing with others, if you imagine you might feel shy in a group, or if you prefer personal attention, individual sessions may be for you. In group sessions, you may interact with others. You develop comradeship and solidarity through group experiences. Relationships become a big part of the experience. You witness and show up for each other.
How will I feel during and after sessions?
During sessions, you might feel anything from joy to self doubt, confidence to self consciousness. There’s no right or wrong way to feel in this practice. Most important is to be present with what is for you in the moment — including self consciousness and self doubt — and to work from the heart. After sessions, it is common to feel receptive, aware, deepened, stimulated, authentic.
What are the benefits?
This work is a process, a practice. Effects accrue and you take them with you. You are building a relationship with yourself, cultivating awareness and resources, identifying and encountering patterns, letting go of patterns that don't serve you, and growing.
What if I can’t draw/dance/write?
Because the arts have become specialized in our culture, many of us have internalized a sense of “I can’t” about various art forms. Watch children before they have had their wings clipped about the arts, and you’ll remember that at one time, you too enjoyed expressing yourself in these mediums. In expressive arts, we are not concerned with creating a final finished product that looks a certain way. Here, the arts are part of a process. Grappling with unfamiliar mediums is a way of relating to our internal censors. Plus, I will give you support in this.
Do I need to bring materials?
Bring a journal if you like. I provide needed art materials.
What if I have physical challenges?
You are welcome to modify any activity for your own abilities. This is a process, not a striving to look a certain way or move in any way other than what makes sense for your body.
Is it appropriate for both men and women?
What ages is it appropriate for?
Adolescents and up.
Are you a licensed therapist?
No. My role is educator, facilitator, and coach.
Is it appropriate for people with eating disorders, trauma, addictions, or depression?
Yes. Talk to your counselor to see whether he or she recommends you seek body-work, but in general a practice in movement-based expressive arts can help you listen to your body’s wisdom, refine your proprioceptive awareness, enact outwardly the changes you are finding inwardly, and find resources for growth. I appreciate knowing if you have been referred by a counselor or therapist.
What activities will we do?
We do sensory awareness exercises, movement explorations, drawing, writing, vocalizing, witnessing of others. We might focus on particular body parts and their metaphorical significance as a way into your material (carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, stepping out into something new, having trouble digesting something in your life, etc).
Will we ever work with dreams or guided meditations?
Sometimes you might work with a dream image or one from guided meditation.
Do you offer workshops and larger classes?
At the Pettigru studio, I work with a maximum of four because of the size of the studio. I also offer larger workshops offsite.
What do I wear?
Dress comfortably for movement, and in layers. No shoes.
What’s the connection with contra dance?
Contra dance is immediate aesthetic experience of music and movement in community with others. So is this, only here we pause and reflect on it.