How Four Elements DMTM (Dance & Movement Therapeutic Method) came about
The Four Elements DMTM has been an ongoing development in the clinical practice of Katarina Gadjanski BSc (Hons) Dip Psych UKCP since 2009.
The work has largely concentrated around clients who have suffered from early life trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as those with stress related illnesses and mood disorders.
Katarina found that talking therapy had limited success when dealing with these clients – in particular those with trauma or psychosomatic disorders. It became apparent that their bodies were still holding undischarged emotional content, and so talking psychotherapy offered limited progress – the body needed to be accessed in order to find its expression as well.
Katarina therefore turned to the work of Dr. Peter Levine, the foremost expert in trauma and the body, and began integrating his Somatic Experiencing methodology into her work. This body-oriented form of therapy greatly benefited her clients, and so she has continued to explore other ways of addressing that which is held at the somatic level of being.
Simultaneously, Katarina was using mindfulness meditation with clients who suffered from depression and anxiety, which brought a relief to many. As she continued to practice various forms of meditation over the past 25 years, she was particularly interested in how one might bring the therapeutic elements of meditation into psychotherapeutic work.
Additionally, Katarina was most interested in bringing free form therapeutic dance and movement meditation into this body of work, that being the practice she personally found most helpful at many challenging times in her life. She discovered that free expression through movement and dance offered clients a great platform to explore themselves in a new connected way (body, mind and emotion) and to evolve from processing verbally and conceptually, to experiencing a more integrated self awareness.
Thus gradually integrating these varied models, Katarina brought her original Transpersonal Psychotherapy training together with her experience in Body-Psychotherapy, mindfulness meditation and dance & movement – and Four Elements Dance and Movement Therapeutic Method was born.
1) Transpersonal Psychotherapy
We use the Four Elements Transpersonal model (incorporating Earth, Water, Air and Fire) by integrating elemental visualisations and creative imagination with four elements music. In helping people to connect with these four outer elements, they are encouraged incrementally to re-connect with the inner landscapes: Earth = Body, Water = Emotions, Air = Mind and Fire = Energy. As they explore and move through these four aspects of themselves, various techniques are utilised to process and release emotion, blockages and constriction that are held within the body-mind.
This process frees the participants to connect with the transpersonal element – Aether, and help them re-connect with pure consciousness. The result of reconnecting with this fifth element is a sense of openness, inner peace, stillness and a feeling of oneness.
2) Body-Oriented Psychotherapy
We use Somatic Experiencing and various Embodied Psychotherapy techniques when working with the body. This facilitates release of trauma, constriction, pain or any other uncomfortable sensations that the body may be holding due to un-discharged traumatic material.
We also work with the four elements within the body itself. The Earth element represents the structural body (muscles, bones & joints), the Water element represents the blood flow and bodily fluids, the Air element represents breath, and the Fire element represents the vital heat and kinetic energy of the body.
3) Mindful Dance and Movement Practice
The third integral component of this work is based on emotional expression interpreted through dance and movement. In this work we use carefully selected music to guide participants into connecting with different aspect of themselves.
In this practice, the body and movement itself, becomes an object of meditation. The purpose is to shift energetic and physical blockages through conscious movement, and free expression through dance.
4) Mindfulness and Therapeutic Meditation
The latest research in neuroscience and extensive clinical studies show the profound therapeutic effects of using mindfulness and meditation in the treatment of depression, anxiety and stress related dis-eases.
The Mindfulness practice, interwoven with The Four Elements, is used to help participants return back to the present moment. We often start with the mindfulness of body (Earth), move to the mindfulness of feelings (Water), mindfulness of breathing (Air) and finish with mindfulness of the mental formation (Air/Fire). This grounds any predisposition to dwell negatively in the past or future, and root participants firmly in the here and now.
Katarina had been practicing meditation for over 25 years and for this course she brought together a number of meditation techniques to create a framework that can be used by everyone, even those that have no previous experience of meditation. She has included those forms of meditation that she found most useful in her own life as well as in her clinical work as a psychotherapist, such as breath work, visualisation, sounding, energy alignment in the body and many more.
5) Therapeutic Group-Work
All of the above methodology is facilitated within the contained space of a therapeutic group. Setting up and holding this field, or safe container, is an integral part of the Four Elements DMTM.
This non-judgemental group environment is set up by using confidentiality and respecting therapeutic boundaries. Sharing and mutual support is encouraged through working as a group, in pairs, as well as individual work.