Updated: Jun 21, 2021
I remember calling Tripura ma'am two months ago to inquire about internships in Dance/ Movement Therapy (DMT). We shared a stimulating conversation about the current pandemic situation and discussed the future of DMT. Moreover, I was inquisitive about how she pioneered the DMT movement in India and continued to flood her with my questions. She patiently heard all of my questions and said, "Go read my book first, and then we'll see if you still have questions". I did what she told me to and promptly ordered her book. When it arrived, I saw a slim-looking book and thought I had received the wrong parcel. 'Surely the book has to be lengthier than this', I thought to myself. But, upon reading the first few chapters itself, I could gauge that this book has so much to offer.
I spent the next few days buried in the book, and even today, I keep coming back to the book, re-reading a chapter or two every now and then. My Body My Wisdom is a gospel for mental health professionals and creative movement therapy practitioners. It is the who, what, when, where, how of understanding the practice of DMT and may be used for planning and conducting sessions. It takes you through everything from the origin of DMT to the skills, space, music and props required to conduct a DMT session. The book stands out because it presents the theoretical frameworks of dance therapy while explaining it through the practical lens of Tripura madam's experience in DMT. Her accounts of DMT sessions for the specially-abled population and people with psychological disorders make for crucial case studies to observe and learn from. Through the book, the readers can begin to fathom the usefulness of DMT as an alternate mode of therapy.
The book is a must-read for all creative therapy practitioners and positive art coaches as it suggests many eye-opening learnings. It carefully explains the difference between a teacher and a facilitator. It presses the reader to question their approach to therapy. The readers will also find a beautiful Indian perspective on the practice of DMT. Over the years, DMT has gained a lot of popularity in the West, especially in the USA. However, unknown to many, the Indian landscape and history have a lot to offer to DMT. Our margi and desi dance traditions, along with yogic practices, provide a wide therapeutic margin.
The encompassing takeaway from this book is obtaining an increased understanding of DMT. To practice DMT, one has to combine knowledge of dance and movement with psychology. It is essential to understand concepts like spatial awareness and body rhythms. These may seem abstract, but understanding them helps us navigate our behaviour to provide an insight into our mental states. Dance allows us to listen to our body, and psychology allows us to perceive our minds and its complexities. Imagine the power and conviction one could maintain in their daily life by understanding themselves, both their body and their mind. I also learned that just like other therapeutic approaches, DMT also requires psychological testing and assessment to map a client's journey. It is imperative to have assessment methods that provide insight into the client's comfort or discomfort with movement.
My Body My Wisdom is a resourceful book, one that a creative therapist may never part with.
You can visit https://www.tripurakashyap.info/ for more information and resources!