Languaging the embodied experience

Heidrun Panhofer, Helen Payne

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    This article is based on a study (Panhofer, 2009) which explored ways of verbalising the embodied experience and inquired into the essentially subjective undertaking of yielding meaning in the movement. In Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP), movement observation and analysis generally serves as a tool to understand, classify and interpret human movement, providing practitioners with a language for how to speak and describe movement. The study drew attention to the possibilities and limitations of wording the embodied experience, or, as Sheets-Johnstone (2007, p. 1) referred to it as the challenge of languaging the experience. Underlining nonlanguaged ways of knowing the study showed how movement replaces words in many ways and illustrated valuable possible methods of communicating the embodied experience such as the use of metaphors, images and poetry. It is suggested, as a result of the study, that the embodied word needs to be linked to a personal, emotive vocabulary rather than any technical movement observational language when practitioners communicate their practice to others. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)215-232
    JournalBody, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011


    • Dance Movement Psychotherapy
    • movement observation and analysis
    • narrative
    • the embodied word
    • therapeutic process

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