Embodied Pathways

Listening Through the Body: Exploring Interoception and the Power of Authentic Movement with Jennifer Tantia

July 27, 2023 Adrian Harris Season 1 Episode 4
Embodied Pathways
Listening Through the Body: Exploring Interoception and the Power of Authentic Movement with Jennifer Tantia
Show Notes Transcript

In this fascinating discussion, I have the pleasure of chatting with Jennifer Tantia, a Somatic Psychotherapist and Dance Movement therapist based in New York City. Jennifer shares her unique journey from being a professional dancer to becoming a therapist. She discusses her time in the East Village, working in gyms as a personal trainer, and her deep dive into somatic psychology and embodied research. Jennifer also enlightens us about the sixth sense -  interoception. We explore interoception and how it intersects with somatic psychology, psychotherapy and Focusing.

We explore the extraordinary power of Authentic Movement, and Jennifer offers some valuable insights into helping clients become more present. Listen in as we explore an example of how to help a client access their emotions through physical sensations and the importance of trusting one’s intuition and gut sense of safety in relationships.

The episode concludes with an exploration of how we can weave together presence, interoception and Authentic Movement. We delve into how movement can open us up to unexpected insights and how we can use these moments to help us process our emotions and experiences. We also discuss how to stay present with our felt senses and how trust and curiosity can help us open up to unexpected experiences.

Jennifer Frank Tantia, PhD, LCAT, BC-DMT is a Somatic Psychotherapist and Dance/movement Therapist in New York City, practicing for the past 18 years. She has been teaching somatic psychology and embodied research at universities and training programs in the US and internationally for the past decade.  Dr. Tantia co-edited  The Routledge International Handbook on Embodied Perspectives in Psychotherapy: Approaches from Dance Movement and Body Psychotherapy (2019) and received a Marian Chace Foundation grant for her latest book,  The Art and Science of Embodied Research Design: Concepts, Methods and Cases (2020). 
Website: www.soma-psyche.com

 0:00:01 - Adrian

Welcome everybody to another session of the Embodied Pathways podcast. I'm excited on this occasion to be talking to Jennifer Tantia, who is a somatic psychotherapist and dance movement therapist in New York City. She's been practicing there for the last 18 years. I've been in touch with Jennifer for years. We've just had a quick before-session chat and realised that it’s about 11 or 12 years ago that we first touched base and we've been exchanging emails and following each other's work for that length of time. So we're finally meeting!

Jennifer has done all sorts of things in that time. She's taught somatic psychology and embodied research universities and training programs both in the US and internationally, and she's co-edited a book called the Routledge International Handbook on Embodied Perspectives in Psychotherapy and her second book is called The Art and Science of Embodied Research Design, Concepts, Methods and Cases. So Jennifer has a wide range of experience, huge amounts of knowledge in the embodiment realm, and we're going to be focusing on something called interoception. If you haven't heard about it, don't worry. Interoception is fascinating and a huge topic and Jennifer's passionate about it. We'll be exploring that and also going into somatic psychology, psychotherapy and related areas as we go on. So, Jennifer, welcome.

0:01:25 - Jennifer

Thank you so much, Adrian. My goodness, it's such a delight to be here in real-time. It has been quite a journey and I've been so enjoying your journey and our mutual admiration of our works. It's just been really lovely. I feel like I'm meeting an old friend and, for the first time, yeah, yeah, it's lovely.

0:01:51 - Adrian

You were talking a little bit about how you got into this whole field which is an interesting story, to begin with. So let’s launch off there. So you were a dancer before you got into the whole therapy field?

0:02:06 - Jennifer

Yes, I've been - as we all have - I've been watching bodies my whole life, since birth, and it's how I know who people are, and observing and feeling my own sense of myself. I was a professional dancer for 10 years in New York City and, as most dancers in New York City a few lucky ones get full-time jobs in dance companies, but for the most of us we have to find a side job, and I took a job as a personal trainer in a gym in an investment bank. It couldn't have been further from my artistic life in the East Village at that time, but I found it interesting and so when I got there, you know they all wanted beach bodies, they wanted to build muscle and look this way and look that way, and I just thought I just can't bring myself to do that. But what I was doing is, I would watch them in doing their exercises and I would see other things that they needed. It was almost like I could see into their bodies. Actually, I really think I could see into their bodies! I would see one person needed more spine support. I would see another person had something going on in their body - that something was just not right. Later found out it was called trauma. I would create exercises for them that were based on what I thought they needed rather than what they came to me for - which may not really be ethically sound today, but they seem to like it. You know one, one woman I saw she really just needed to take up more space in herself, so I would have her doing like X-Rolls across the floor, you know, in the in the studio, and it was just amazing. I would see them change from the inside out. I would see their aliveness start to really show and they did get stronger and they got more resilient and got more stamina. But at the same time they were also changing their personality. And I didn't know anything about Reich or Lowen or any of character structures or styles at the time. It was just something I just was doing while I was supporting my dance habit and dancing in New York City. 

And so, you know, I was getting older, in my late 20s, early 30s, and decided that I wanted a Master's degree and I nobody in my family had gone to college, and so I did finish my undergrad at the time and I wanted a Master's and I thought I don't know what I wanted in and I didn't know how to apply. And I got on my roommate's computer at the time. This was before Google was born, so when you put in a search question, it would come up in alphabetical order. And I sat there - and I guess I was using my interoception - and I felt my sit bones and I just said I'm going to just type whatever comes up. And I typed in ‘physiological psychology’ and hit enter and boom! The first word that came up was biofeedback, because, remember, this is alphabetical order. There were no ads, there wasn't any SEO or whatever that's called. And I was like, ‘Biofeedback - oh, that's interesting, I've heard of that. Oh, but it's not a Master's degree, okay'. 

Next thing in line was Dance Movement Therapy. And I said ‘Oh, my goodness, I'll never have to stop dancing, I'll do that, let's see. Let's see if there's a school nearby’. And I was like there better be a school nearby, because I'm not leaving New York, I'm still going to be dancing and I'm just going to go do my Master's degree and dance. And lo and behold, there was a school - Pratt Institute, five subway stops away. And I was like, ‘Oh good, I'll go there’. And of course there was a whole like admission process and all these other things.

And they first said to me look, it's too late to apply. You know you have to come apply next year. And I was like, okay, and I was like, well, probably be doing something else by then. And then about a week later they called me and they were like, well, somebody dropped out and we want you in the program. We saw your CV or your resume and stuff. So they did that. And then at the end of dance therapy and I could tell you lots of wonderful stories about my work on inpatient psych with folks who really needed a lot of, you know, ego support and and and healing, and after my, my Master's degree, I really I was, I was hungry. I was still hungry and, long story short, I heard about this school that taught somatic psychology in California and I said, oh, okay, I'll do that. And I did that and I've been in private practice as a dance movement therapist and somatic psychotherapist for the past 18 years treating adults and yeah, and, and it keeps, keeps on, keeping on, it keeps on growing. 

0:07:26 - Adrian

Yeah, fabulous, lovely story. 

0:07:29 - Jennifer

A great way to get into it. Intuition. 

0:07:34 - Adrian

That's what came across. It was like you just sat there and you went, okay – what do I want to type in? I talk a lot about embodied knowing - the body has its own wisdom - and something in you, a part of you, knew this is it!

0:07:51 - Jennifer

Yeah, it's something just lights up. I guess that kind of speaks to what I teach my clients and what I learned in being a somatic psychotherapist. A short story. A long time ago, when I was a new somatic therapist, I had this one client who was an actor and I was like I kind of assumed that he was embodied because he was an actor, and I would say things to him like, so what do you feel in your body? And I would ask that a lot, without really giving him any information about how to do that. And one day I said, so what do you feel in your body? And he said: You’re always asking me that! What do you feel in your body?! And I thought, oh dear. So I dropped that idea. The next week he came in and he sat down and I looked at him and I said, so how you doing? And he goes. Well, you know, I had this feeling in my body and then this happened and then, and then it shifted and then I felt this other way and then I realized that, oh, it was who I was with, affected how I felt, and he just went off. And I thought, oh, my goodness, this is something that is inherent in all of us If we take the time to listen.

And I went on a quest. How am I going to teach people how to get into their bodies? You can't assume that when a client shows up for psychotherapy, that they know how to be a client, that they know what to expect from you. Likewise, when you ask somebody, what do you feel in your body? I was working with one woman - I wrote a book chapter about this - I asked her so what do you feel, what do you wear of right now? And she went hmm, the clock, your shoes, the door. And I thought, oh, my goodness, she's not in her body at all. And then that was teaching me more and more about trauma and how to help somebody to feel safe enough to get into their body. And sometimes they have to start from the other side of the room. So, getting into the body, listening through your body. Interoception, what is that? What does it mean? How do we get there? What is it good for? 

0:10:21 – Adrian

Yeah all that! I only came across interoception in 2022, when I was working on the embodiment conference and we had somebody on there was talking to me about this ‘interoception’, I haven't heard of this and I was like, 'Oh my God, how come I haven't ever heard of this before?'  I've been studying embodiment for God knows how long. It feels like been around for a long time, but suddenly it's become much bigger. Is that true? 

0:10:44 - Jennifer

That's a really good question. When I was writing I think it was my dissertation, I came across an article and I was writing my dissertation on intuition. I think there's something about this all being connected. And I came across Stephen Porges. One of his earlier articles from the 90s called The Sixth Sense, and it was I think he now calls it neuroception - something about safety and danger - which is also somewhere along the lines of intuition, and then the idea of the sixth sense. You know we have our five senses sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste and then there's an interoceptive, internal, inside the body awareness, knowing, information - and then there's kinesthetic sense. So that's maybe even a seventh sense, is the way that I kind of organize the information and then around, I think, in biological, you know, scientific studies and in biology and but hasn't really crossed psychology or psychotherapy until trauma healing began to become, became a thing. 

In 2007, Peter Levine wrote Waking the Tiger, you know, and started talking about how we feel inside ourselves and we feel fear, and then more about integrating psychology with the autonomic nervous system and that you know that cranial nerve that goes from our skull, you know, inside of our inside of our brain, all the way to our pelvis and that tells us a lot about what's going on in how we are, in where we are, how we locate ourselves in space, and well, that's a little bit. I guess that's proprioception - I'm trying to stay on track here - locating our internal experience in relation to our external experience, how our environment affects us, how we affect our environment. I guess that's a little bit of a psychological homeostasis, internal to external. I think only in the past, 20-something years, has it really started infiltrating, becoming a part of at least a part of my vocabulary in terms of somatic awareness and healing.

0:13:12 - Adrian

There's some aspects of interoception which remain below the level of awareness. Some of it is like immediately obvious - I'm hungry, I'm thirsty. And then there's this interesting in-between bit - this my sense of it. Well, if I check in and go, oh, so how am I feeling? Oh, there's a bit of tightness here. I can, because I've done a lot of focusing. There's other people, like the guy that you had in your room was like what are you talking about? What am I feeling in my body?! I get clients like that. They're like; Whoa feeling in my body? What do you mean? So there's this variation there in interoceptive awareness, isn’t there?

0:13:57 - Jennifer

Absolutely. Yeah, I love using - I'll send you a picture of it - I love using the image of an iceberg, and the part of the iceberg that we can see above the water are our thoughts are narrative. What did I have for breakfast yesterday? Yada, yada, yada, and we can. That's where we scare ourselves. It's where we can talk ourselves in and out of anything. 

And then what you were just talking about, I like calling it like the meniscus, that level just on top of, like the top of the water and a little bit below, where there's it's a very thin line and that I like to look at as our emotional level. People like making emotions really big, but they're, they're transient, they're not as powerful as we give them credit for. So there's that meniscus there's that middle level where our emotional awareness is, and when you're considering the body as a gateway between consciousness and unconsciousness, as we go down into the water we pass by, there's some emotions were not aware of that come up to the surface, or other emotions we keep under the water. 

And then the largest and the most unknown, as far as I understand, is the somatic layer, and that's the biggest part of the iceberg. It's the deepest and I think it's where the most information lies. And it's also - aside from body memory, which is a whole other ballgame - is where our truth is. And you know, our minds can go into the future or the past with anxiety or regret, and our bodies are only present - For the most part, as we do have body memory and we do respond to our memories - but if we can become present and that process of going in and attending to what is happening, it's only happening now. We don't have to do all that other fancy stuff, and that's where our true present-moment experience is.

0:16:04 - Adrian

Yeah, that's lovely. My core model is called the Experiential Iceberg and you kind of just described it, so I was like, oh cool! I'll send it to you. 
[Note - it was previously called the Cognitive Iceberg: https://adrianharris.org/blog/2019/01/09/your-tiny-mind/]

0:16:14 - Jennifer

Oh, my goodness!

0:16:16 - Adrian

So there's the meniscus: Now what I think the move that can move down, so awareness can expand. So that if you're doing meditation or you spend a lot of time in nature or you're doing dancing, in certain ways, that moves down and you get more awareness. So that's part of the development of it that I've brought in. And if you do something like psychedelics, it's like – whoosh! - you go straight down really quick.

0:16:47 - Jennifer

Snorkeling to diving. 

0:16:51 - Adrian

And going back to what you were saying about the importance of presence, this seems to me to be fundamental. It is like, if we can be present to this moment, then we get more chance of being able to access what's in here.

0:17:06 - Jennifer

Yeah, that's what I like to say to clients - what's already happening? It's already happening. You don't have to go find something, you don't have to go make something happen. What's already happening? To help them become more present, and that’s Focusing. I mean Focusing is a whole process of coming, you know, going into your body, listening, listening to the, the amorphous or fuzzy, or, you know, unclear messages. They're not messages yet - they're, you know, maybe a shape or a colour of something, and then we can, you wait with it, and then it eventually it starts coming up to maybe a cognition or maybe a feeling, or maybe an emotion or a sense, sensation. 

0:17:53 - Adrian

So are there ways in which we can expand our interoceptive awareness? Because with the guy that you had in the room, who initially didn't have any sense of his feeling, it really sounds like he just suddenly he had a kind of – maybe he looked, went, oh, is there anything that? Oh, my God, there is! I sometimes have clients and they really find it really hard to sense anything. Is there many thoughts on ways we can help people to access and expand their interoceptive awareness in some way? 

0:18:20 - Jennifer

Yeah, I would love to say that, oh, there was a protocol. That would be so nice and so easy. Then we could study it, you know. But I'm thinking of one person. Here's one way - there's someone I was working with and he said he didn't understand emotions. He had a hard time naming his emotions and I invited him to notice physical experiences in his body and I would see an emotion come up in him and I would ask him what did he feel physically in his body? And so he was able to kind of go from the outside and, oh, I feel tension. I'm, oh, where are you looking? Where's your gaze right now? You're, oh, my, I'm looking down. 

And as a very intelligent person - graduated Ivy League school, whole nine yards - and so he knew how to put words to many things, but his emotions were something that always went under the radar. So, going in - What's your temperature? Where's your eye? Gaze right now, notice the temperature of your hands and notice if it's different than the temperature of your neck and then he was able to relate sensory things and I would give him the emotion that I thought was there. Now, check that, check that out with yourself. And he was able to then nuance it - oh, is it anger? Oh, maybe. I don't know. And then so he could go in through a somatic way and then access his emotions and he was able to nuance that. No, it's not anger, it's more like frustration, like okay, what else, what else is that made of? And you know you'd say, oh, yeah, it's actually a bunch of different things. So that's one way. 

0:20:08 - Adrian

Yeah, that's nice. I did some research in a similar way where they got people who would say, okay, this person, you're feeling angry, and then they scan the body - did a heat scan. There's a whole series of these things. It's like, well, when somebody's on average, if they're angry, there's a lot of sensation in this area. If they're sad, then everything's quite cold. Nice way to go. 

{Note: See: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.580071/full]

0:20:32 - Jennifer

And then you're helping me to see there is also another aspect to this. And maybe they'll look at the heat sensor - I love those things, by the way and they'll look at it and go, oh yeah, that fits. And then I'll ask them to double-check because not everybody fits a cookie cutter right? And what that also brings into their experience is can I trust myself with what I'm feeling? Can I say, well, I'm not sure, I think it might be this, but let me try that out and see, rather than, oh, is it right, is it wrong? Am I doing a good job, therapist? It's really about: Check it out for you, what works for you. And then that brings me to this experience of when I'm in someone's presence. How do I feel when I'm with them? 

I have loads of clients who are dating and they're like, oh, and he looks good on paper and I'm like, but how do you feel when you're with them? Is there excitement or is it fear? Let's put that together and see are you feeling self-conscious? And then we find out more about that person, more about the client, by them checking in with their bodies in relation to different people and different aspects of the world. I see people changing jobs. After they start working with me, they change their relationships. It's quite astonishing to see how people shift once they start to support themselves in what their own truth is through their body.

0:22:18 - Adrian

We do have this - intuition isn't it? We get a gut sense of this person's okay or this person somehow doesn't feel safe. And if you know that's there - it's radar you have built-in of safe, not safe, go here, move away. 

0:22:34 - Jennifer

And the more my clients tend to really pay attention, start listening through their body and really listening. Let me say something about listening: listening for a sensation, not listening for necessarily words. The body does not speak English or German or French. It offers an experience, and to hold that experience - and this is so similar to sitting in the tree, right? - listening and receiving and letting yourself receive outside of what you think you know. The skill of sensing yourself becomes stronger. You get to sense smaller and smaller, more minuscule places or aspects or messages that come through, and so that's the interoceptive right. Then what we do with it is the somatic piece. Somatic actually means movement, so there's the tiny, tiny movements inside the body, and then there's the response to that. What are you going to do about it? We might call it a behavior in like a CBT kind of thing, or there's that internal to external again, which is I'm kind of repeating myself, I guess. 

0:23:46 - Adrian

And does that lead us into the work you do with Authentic Movement? 

0:23:51 - Jennifer

Yes, I think so. There it is.

0:23:54 - Adrian

Yeah, we haven't mentioned Authentic Movement yet, so how would you frame - what is Authentic Movement about?

0:24:00 - Jennifer

It was created by Mary Whitehouse in somewhere around the 1940s. I found in some dusty old literature that she was at Esalen Institute in the 60s. By then she was doing her thing, Fritz Perls was doing his thing and, among many others, Ida Rolf was there at Esalen. They actually named a building after her - and I think they kind of they hung out together because there's a lot of similarities between the theoretical aspects of Authentic Movement and Gestalt therapy. And so, going back to her - I also want to acknowledge Janet Adler who took this information about Authentic Movement. She actually named it Authentic Movement and she sadly passed away just a week ago today. So just to acknowledge her contribution to Authentic Movement, she codified it into a form of dance movement therapy. So it can be used in a psychotherapeutic process and it can be used out in a park with a bunch of fabulous artists - which is the way that I've been doing it for the past 15 years or so. It can be therapeutic, it always is therapeutic. But it can be used in psychotherapy in the process or not, or as a creative process, self-inquiry. 

It is a process where you close your eyes and you wait for an impulse from your body. There's a lot to it and it's simple and it's difficult. You close your eyes, you go into your body and, as the body is the gateway between consciousness and unconsciousness, we go in, and sometimes there's moving and sometimes there is being moved. So moving is kind of like you close your eyes and you suddenly realize, oh, I have that crick in my neck, oh, let me stretch that Okay. Oh yeah, it feels good, that's moving, with your eyes closed, and then there's being moved. And that is this wonderful moment where you go in and it's like putting your brain in the back seat and putting your body in the driver's seat and you really are in a different state where your body is moving. You and, oh, I get emotional just thinking about it. It's very special and some people go right into it immediately, some people take years. Just the process of closing your eyes and moving and slowing down is so wonderful in itself. But if you get to that place, boy, so many things open up and this is a place where it's like Alice in Wonderland. This is where it's very similar to some plant medicine. 

You may find something that feels absolutely humongous, or you might feel like your body is very large or very tiny. You might regress to an earlier stage of development and live through it and actually have a chance to recreate it in an adult way so that you can actually support yourself where you haven't been supported before. It's mostly done in a group. So when you're moving through space you might bump into somebody If you bump into them and there's all these rules and everything for safety and you know everything is agreed upon before we do anything like this. But just to give it a little caveat there. But if you bump into somebody and you might shrink away very quickly and, boy, doesn't that tell you something about how you live in the world, because everyone in that group can be anybody in your past, present or future life. Tina Stromsted said says it's like going into a dream state. That plus! It can be a psychedelic dream, with no drugs. 

0:28:03 - Adrian

It's extraordinarily powerful. 

0:28:06 - Jennifer

Yeah, and there are so many things that can happen in that state that are unfathomable in our waking state. There was a time I had been sitting up against or leaning against the wall, as I was a mover. Oh, so I should also mention there's a mover, there are movers or a mover and a witness, so everybody is moving with their eyes closed, but there's always a witness. There's someone usually the group leader is sitting still with their eyes open and they are witnessing the experience, and what that means is they're not looking to see ‘Oh, what are they going to do next? Oh, I hope they do this other thing. Oh, look how cool with their movement’. It's no judgment, it's you're sitting and you're holding space for these precious beings who are trusting you with their eyes closed and going into very deep places. You hold the space for them with love, with compassion, and there's even training you can do. 

I did a two-year training to become a witness, to learn how to witness a person moving in this, in this state, and I use it all the time with everybody. But yeah, I can go on for a long time about it, but there's, there are so many things that can happen. Shall I give you an example? 

0:29:25 - Adrian

Yeah, go for it; it's absolutely fascinating. 

0:29:28 - Jennifer

There was a woman. I was in a group I had been in several groups but I was a mover in a group and there was a woman. She would, oh, she would close her eyes and she would start talking - out loud. And as a dance therapist with a master's degree, I was like, oh, she's so annoying and I'd be so annoyed, so that I mean, the whole point is that the space is there for whatever happens, right? So if I'm sitting in my annoyance, that's my job, that's my responsibility to, to handle it, to deal with it, to do something, to notice, to witness myself in what my response is to this, right? And her experience was her experience. It happens to be happening at the same time, kind of like life. We're all having experiences. We can't be in each other's bodies. We have our own phenomenon happening. 

So she's talking and at one point she's all the way on the other side of the room and I kind of went in and I didn't hear her anymore. I don't know if she was still making noise or not, but I couldn't - I didn't hear her and I reached my hands out in front of me. I had no idea I was following my body and I touched her, her uterus. She had been sitting right in front of me with her legs in second position and I touched her. I reached my hands, I touched her uterus. She burst into tears and I turned my cup to my hands and she put her head directly into my hands and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. 

And I knew who it was because I knew her voice and she didn't know who I was. And you know, we knew each other from the group, but we did not know each other in this moment and even at the end, when we sat around and we processed our experience, she thought it was somebody else who was holding her head. It might sound very confusing or weird, but yes! It is. So this is the kind of information that can come up when we get out of our own way and allow ourselves to be in the presence of others. In presence, yeah.

0:31:50 - Adrian

And the movement is so key here, isn't it? Because when I'm Focusing myself, we've been talking a bit about Focusing. Focusing - for those that aren't familiar with it, who are listening - Focusing is a technique of sensing into the body and finding a felt sense there that you can be with. Yeah, so you talk a bit about it, but some people might not be familiar. So when I'm doing Focusing, it very much feels like I'm going into this other world and I have to, at the end I have to go whoa, okay, I'm coming back and I'm going to open my eyes in a minute and it's going to be in my room again and it's almost like you've gone somewhere else. And there are echoes of this here with this - you go somewhere else, this other world, but the movement is there, and that's crucial to this, isn't it? It brings a whole new dimension.

0:32:39 - Jennifer

It really does, and it does work with individuals. It doesn't always have to be in a group, so you can do Authentic Movement by yourself and allow yourself to feel movement. You might find your own foot and find that it's the most incredible foot you've ever seen, but it might not feel like your own - personal experience. I forgot to mention that, this woman. In that experience she later found out that she was pregnant - And she was happy about it. 

0:33:13 - Adrian

Yeah, wow, beautiful.

0:33:15 - Jennifer

So, yeah: this going in and letting go. Going in and getting out of your own way, and then coming back to - you know there's entry and then there's this reentry back - and we have to, you know, go to work and pay our bills and do our things in life - to allow yourself to go from that deep place and come back up again. My one of my favourite teachers, Christine Caldwell, used to say that going into the body is like going from prose to poetry to haiku. So coming back out is similar, right. You start adding, you let your eyes slit open a little bit, you start looking, you know, at things in your environment, maybe feel yourself finding grounding for yourself back here in this like gravitational, physical way, and then; eventually, words start to come back to your consciousness again. 

0:34:17 - Adrian

Is there a process of integrating afterwards? Talking with a therapist – kind of what was that about? 

0:34:23 - Jennifer

Yeah, so the process is each mover can speak their experience and there is a whole beautiful process about speaking as if it's happening in the present moment, similar to the way that Gestalt processes dreams - telling your dream as if it's happening now. So there's a lot of parallels with these two systems or practices. So the mover speaks as if the movement is happening in the present moment and the witness gives a witness - if the mover would like to hear the witness's experience. The witness speaks from what is happening in their body as they are witnessing. I saw you standing with your arms outstretched and I felt ready or excited. Trying not to interpret the movement but really speaking from their own embodied experience. I saw you go to the floor and I felt a sense of relief in my system. And sometimes it's very spot on. Sometimes images come up. There's so much to say, but there are a lot of different things that can happen and sometimes what the witness says is very spot on with what the mover was experiencing and sometimes it's very different and both are useful. 

0:35:45 - Adrian

Is there an obvious way in which interoception and Authentic Movement weave together? 

0:35:50 - Jennifer

Yeah, let's see. So when you close your eyes, you're cutting out this primary sense of being engaged in your world and folks who are the peacemakers in their family or they, feel useful in their lives. If they are giving to somebody, if they're doing something for someone, they're always outside of themselves. And to close your eyes, you're really coming back in and down and into your body and then letting that felt sense - if you will - move you. It's the movement of the felt sense that then creates the movement that you are then following. Does that make sense?

0:36:36 - Adrian

It's sort of a conversation, in a way, between the interoceptive felt sense and the physical expression in movement. 

0:36:44 - Jennifer

Yeah, and sometimes there's no movement. You know I often have clients say, well, what if I don't move? I said, okay, so don't move. What's that like? I know, like in Focusing, there's not a lot of movement from my understanding. So maybe you don't move. Maybe your body is containing what you sense moving in your body, even if it's a buzz or a fuzziness, or there's something it has to move for you to know that it's there, right? Or maybe there's a weight. Maybe if it as a felt sense, you know, maybe you feel a weight in your chest or your stomach that there has to be a sense of that's a movement down is gravity, there's some kind of move at the most minuscule level that you're, that's how you sense it. But I think I mean I would love to be challenged on that and what. Let's talk about that, like what that mean. So the sensation may stay contained in your body and there's always an invitation to let it move your body

0:37:53 - Adrian

I'm imagining the movement kind of then speaks back. Does that makes sense.? 

0:38:00 - Jennifer

Yeah, with movement, it speaks in sensation. And is that what you're asking? 

0:38:06 - Adrian

Yeah, yeah, this where language gets tricky because I don't want to kind of split apart the movement and what that's expressing from what's felt in the body. It's almost like that sort of two instruments in an orchestra: One was playing and the other one is responding to that. Does that make sense? 

0:38:25 - Jennifer

I'm hearing you, yeah. I’m trying to think of an example. When you close your eyes and you see what wants to happen, and then there's a movement that happens, or a felt sense, or a sensation, and then you follow it. Maybe it wants to come up, maybe it wants to, maybe there's a sensation in your stomach it wants to go forward, you allow yourself to be drawn forward, there's a sense of going down, and then I follow the sensation of wanting to go down. So let me ask you, in Focusing, is there something that happens that doesn't have a movement?

0:39:07 - Adrian

So there's there's something called Whole Body Focusing where you do move Generally the way I would, generally sitting, sitting quietly and there will be felt senses in the body that I'm dialoguing with. So the part that can articulate language will go ‘Hello, oh, there's this feeling there’. And the feeling may respond in a way that says, ‘yeah, okay, I'm here - ‘Is it okay to be with you?’ And then the felt sense will respond in a way that says, yeah, that's okay. And then it's kind of you have this dialogue: ‘I’m just curious what you might be about. Are you about that I had an argument with yesterday?’ And then the felt sense will do something - It'll respond or it won't, because if it doesn't, it's like nothing to do with that, it'll just stay as it was. There's a bit of a dialogue going on between to two parts of me. I’m kind of seeing the movement as one part. So when I have a feeling to move forward and I move forwards and that moving forwards is a response to the felt sense, which then responds.

0:40:22 - Jennifer

Yeah, that's the response, yeah, that's the - I don't want to say passive, but you are following the, the felt sense, and into space, or not? That said, I'm thinking about the. I think the difference of what we're talking about is when you're talking to it. There's a real nuance of staying present and not getting into what you want to happen - what your mind wants to happen or what you want to work on that day. Right, it's really staying with and that's, I think, harder. It's harder to do that, right, because we have our wants. You know, you can sit in meditation and suddenly you're like, alright, I'm not sitting here. I've had experiences and Authentic Movement where my eyes spontaneously opened and I was still in it and I thought, okay, this is what we're doing, I'm just going to do this until something else happens. And you know, moving with my eyes open, but still in that state, I was just following what my body - Maybe there was something I needed to check. I have no idea. So following might be many different ways to follow.

0:41:39 - Adrian

It's following and it's having that trust that there is another as a part of me that knows something that my thinking mind doesn't know. And how wonderful that is. I think that by having that trust - I trust that my body does know something that my thinking mind doesn't know. Once you get that, then you go all right, I'm going to go in and I’m gonna listen.

0:42:04 - Jennifer

Yeah, with compassion and curiosity and not judgment or planning. 

0:42:10 - Adrian

As you say, just going with. Okay, I'm just going to go with this. I don't know what's - my thinking mind doesn't know what's going on, but I trust the process

0:42:21 - Jennifer

And it takes some work to do that. It's a practice. 

0:42:23 - Adrian

And presence seems to me to be a bit of a theme running through all of this.

0:42:31 - Jennifer

Absolutely. I remember a client and I’d been working with her for 8 years. And very much talking about her life and that, that that really in the narrative realm and at one point I kind of was able to get in and invite her to be present for a moment. And she sat there, she was really quiet for a while and then she said, huh, so there really is something to this sitting and just feeling weird for a little bit, and then, yes!

0:43:11 - Adrian

There’s power in it, isn't there? Yeah, yeah as lots of what we could explore, but I feel like we've done a good chunk. Is there anything you feel that we've missed or something you wanted to? 

0:43:22 - Jennifer

I think just to emphasize, you know, if anybody is, whoever is listening to this to know that this is a practice and that this - what we're taught, what we talked about today and what we shared, you and I shared together today - is not, it's not an aspirin. You can't just do it once and get it. It's a practice; it's tolerating your own frustration, it's letting yourself be surprised until everything is a surprise. And that's presence, right, and it's worth the effort to practice. 

0:44:02 - Adrian

Yeah. It enlivens us so much, doesn't it, when we have that tuning in. 

0:44:07 - Jennifer

And it really does cross across. You know, meditation and being in the woods and forest bathing and psilocybin trips. It really is - There is a theme here.

0:44:21 - Adrian

Yeah, well, that's lovely. That's a great way to close, so it's been a delight. So we waited, like a decade actually, but Zoom wasn't around when we were first in touch. 

0:44:34 - Jennifer

Yeah, that's true. 

0:44:37 - Adrian

Lovely to talk to you and good luck. Your working on a new book?

0:44:42 - Jennifer

I am. I'm writing it for my clients and it's about somatic practices, how to listen, and I will be just articulating them. I often find clients - They say all the stuff that we do in sessions it's so great, but then I can't remember when I go home. So I'm making a few audio recordings as well as that I've given to them so far, but I haven't put them on my website or anything yet. But I'm also writing a book to really bring it all together and to organize it so my clients can reference it. I'm writing a chapter in an upcoming book that's going to be edited by Stephen Porges and that's kind of a precursor to the book. 

0:45:29 - Adrian

And lots to look forward to! When you get the book out, we'll come back and we'll explore again. 

0:45:36 - Jennifer

Thank you so much, Adrian. Thank you for inviting me. 

0:45:41 - Adrian

Thank you - Goodbye, everybody!