Movement Reflection (inspired by the method of Authentic Movement)

Background: Authentic Movement is an approach to creative movement practice (originally known as Movement-in-depth) developed by dancer and Jungian psychologist Mary Starks Whitehouse.

  • Participants are divided into two groups: movers and witnesses, and in pairs, so that each mover has a witness.
  • Movers spread into the space (preferably dance studio, or other large empty space), close their eyes (this is optional, one can also keep eyes open or open them at any point) and move freely, reflecting on a specific question or theme in an embodied way.
  • Witnesses are watching – without assessing, judging, or interpreting what they see. Witnesses are also there to “protect” the movers, so that if something looks dangerous they can gently intervene.
  • After a set time (for example 10 minutes), alarm rings (or the facilitator of the session makes a sound), as a sign that there is two minutes left for finishing the movement exploration.
  • In the next stage the pairs discuss the experience, so that the mover speaks first—verbalizing what they remember from the experience—and then the witness talks about their experience, what they saw and how that resonated with them. It is also possible to include drawing, so that the witness may make a drawing whilst watching—aiming to capture what they see on paper. Also, the mover may take a moment to make a drawing to express something from their experience before the verbal dialogue.


  • Finding focus/clarity/direction in an embodied way
  • Finding connections between the verbal and non-verbal, and the conscious and unconscious

Who with:

  • Any groups of adults, preferably with some creative experience


  • The duration of the movement phase may vary between 5–30 minutes. Witnesses and movers may also write about what they see/experience. Also, it is possible to have half the group witnessing the whole group of movers, and verbally reflecting on the experience as a whole group.


  • 30min–2h

Author: Liisa Jaakonaho, University of the Arts Helsinki.