Authentic Movement in Santa Barbara

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Authentic Movement Therapy

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” - Buddha

At Lovewell we believe that each person has their own unique constellation of energy guiding them in their everyday lives that seeks expression in everything that they do. From work to romantic relationships, this unique “truth”  is like a compass that can remain hidden if a person has been taught to “perform,” “please," defer to others, or otherwise disconnect from their feelings.  Connection to one's truth can lead to feelings of nourishment, being known and held, and a deep connection to source, self, and others, while disconnection from this truth can lead to feeling fractured, alone, unseen, and in pain. Santa Barbara Authentic Movement sessions can help individuals uncover, become conscious of, and begin to channel channel their unique truths.  Through recognition in the mover-witness Authentic Movement relationship, these inner parts of self and truths are developed in and through relationship.


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What is Authentic Movement?

Authentic Movement is an inner-directed somatic practice that takes place in the presence of at least one witness, or nonjudgmental observer. The practice can be described as a profoundly moving and at times, mystical, practice that strengthens inner listening, intuition, and nonjudgmental witnessing of oneself. It also facilitates an awareness of oneself, one's depths, one's desires, and one's connection to soul and spirit.

Originally a form of depth-oriented dance therapy developed by Mary Starks Whitehouse in the 1950s called Moving in Depth, Authentic Movement evolved as dancers, artists, and scholars honed the practice. Janet Adler, a mystic and scholar, developed a discipline out of the practice and renamed it Authentic Movement. While there are differences in the way the practice has evolved, in it's essence, Authentic Movement is a simple, spontaneous, and meditative movement practice that can awaken creativity and inner peace and strengthen the body-mind connection. Based on the principles of Carl Jung’s Active Imagination process and Depth Psychology, it combines movement, dance therapy, and ritual practices. 

Authentic Movement is founded on the concepts of witnessing, relationship (to self, source, and others,) and ritual. The sacred space and relationship created in authentic movement work invites participants to witness themselves in deeper and different ways than they may have in the past. It allows participants to develop awareness of how they are affected by others and how others are affected by them.

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What are the Benefits of Authentic Movement?

The sacred space and trusting relationship created in Authentic Movement practice allow a person to nourish their feelings, needs, and yearnings, and witness new, deeper and different aspects of themselves than they may have in the past. By being met, cared for, seen, and understood in new ways, parts of self and new ways of understanding oneself may emerge. These new ways of knowing oneself begin to affect the way individuals show up in other areas of their life such as work and relationships.

Often, people report a deeper connection to spirituality and feeling “seen” in ways they never have before beginning the practice.

Other benefits movers report are greater feelings of trust, surrender, vulnerability, intimacy, and harmony experienced within themselves, in sessions, and in outside relationships.

Additional benefits include enhanced creativity, healing, and a deeper connection to one's inner guidance.

What happens in an Authentic Movement Session?

In Santa Barbara Authentic Movement one-on-one and group sessions, the facilitator creates a sacred space through the Authentic Movement practice and acts as a non-judgmental and reflective observer to witness your process.

The facilitator or “witness” will reflect back parts of your experience that you have named as relevant to your experience.

Ongoing sessions in this style tend to facilitate deeper feelings of surrender and vulnerability than traditional psychotherapy and create a truly client-led experience where you can feel empowered as a leader in a subtle yet palpable way.

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What is Authentic Movement in Santa Barbara?

Whether looking for a somatic movement practice, body-oriented mindfulness, Active Imagination, dance therapy, meditative movement, a mindfulness practice, exploration of your unconcious, or simply deeper vulnerability and self-knowing, Authentic Movement in Santa Barbara may be what you need to take your practice deeper.

Santa Barbara Authentic movement is also a wellness treatment and preventative measure that promotes optimal functioning by helping you tune into your own inner compass.

Why do Authentic Movement?

People turn to Authentic Movement practice because they have the sense that their lives could be improved in some way and are seeking greater connection, fulfillment, intimacy, and inspiration. These clients are generally struggling with finding a sense of direction, meaning, or purpose despite having a “normal” life on the outside. People may also turn to the Authentic Movement to improve their connection to spirituality, work through an illness in oneself or the family, or navigate a life transition, such as changing jobs, cities, or getting married or divorced. Many simply are seeking deeper self-awareness, discovery of blind spots, and a desire to explore their inner world.

How often should I do Authentic Movement?

While this can vary depending on the needs of each individual, sessions have the most impact when done weekly for 50, 60, or 75 minutes at the same time each week. The consistency of a regular time for your Authentic Movement practice allows your psyche to rest knowing that there is dedicated time for exploration each week.

Lovewell's Santa Barbara Authentic Movement sessions are customized, reflective, incisive, depth-oriented, and take place in a warm, supportive environment. Please reach out if you would like to know more.

Services Include:​

  • Authentic Movement in Santa Barbara
  • Individual Sessions
  • Group sessions upon request

Areas of Expertise Include:​

  • Relationships
  • Anxiety
  • Men's issues
  • Women's issues
  • Body-image
  • Grief & loss​
  • Existential crises
  • Health crises
  • Spiritual exploration
  • Disordered eating
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic stress
  • Low self-esteem
  • Career change​s
  • Workplace distress
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is Authentic Movement therapy? 

While not formally a form of therapy, Authentic Movement is influenced by therapy practices, including dance therapy and Carl Jung’s Depth Psychology technique Active Imagination. Authentic Movement can be practiced in a dyad, triad, or group, much like regular psychotherapy practices, but does not have to be led by a licensed psychotherapist. Lovewell’s Authentic Movement sessions are led by licensed psychotherapists. 


Q2. Where can I find Authentic Movement near me? 

Authentic Movement can be hard to find as there is no central training or directory. While sessions can be offered virtually, they are best done in person. Santa Barbara Authentic Movement sessions are available through Lovewell.