Meet the Therapist: Lisa Bodenstein
What attracted you to become a movement psychotherapist?
I really struggled to express myself with words when attending therapy as a teenager. I knew there had to be a way to find healing, a way that didn’t only rely on words but incorporated more of the creative process. I trained as a dance movement psychotherapist so that I could offer a creative support that could access both the spoken and the unspoken in the healing process.
Where did you train?
I did my MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy with Canterbury Christ Church University; the course ran at Dance Voice in Bristol. I then went on to train as a Dance of Awareness practitioner in Brighton. My UKCP accredited Supervision training was with the Centre for Supervision Training and Development (CSTD) in Bath.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
Movement psychotherapy can offer clients the opportunity to incorporate the body mind connection in their healing process. It can be incredibly beneficial for people who are looking for a creative form of therapy that goes beyond words.
How does movement psychotherapy help with symptoms of loss, lack of belonging and disconnection?
Movement psychotherapy helps people to feel more whole, inspires a deeper sense of connection by integrating the cognitive, physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of self. When we talk about our struggles we can often get stuck in the story. Working creatively can bypass the story and reveal patterns, perspectives and answers that we may not otherwise have arrived at.
Sessions can be incredibly valuable for clients, like womb twin survivors or those with vanishing twin syndrome, who are seeking to process life experiences from the pre-verbal phase.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see mostly adults in a one to one setting. Clients tend to be those; looking to process loss of some kind, looking to find a more connected sense of self and looking to feel more fulfilled in life. I have also facilitated group therapy sessions for clients with learning difficulties and this is something I hope to continue to do again at some point.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I have the privilege of working with people who are eager to learn more, to recover, to grow. It is incredibly humbling to walk alongside such courageous people.
What is less pleasant?
Life can feel incredibly challenging and overwhelming to everyone at one point or another. What is unpleasant is when I see the impact of those people who intentionally cause harm without realising how much they are hurting another person. They could probably do with more love in their lives, but they are somehow not able to accept it just yet.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I joined in 2019 and enjoy being able to see how many different types of therapies are available to be of service to the many different needs we as humans have. It feels good to be a part of that network.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Occasionally where appropriate.
What you do for your own mental health?
The first thing I do when I wake up is pray and meditate. It helps me find clarity and calm in a world that can be quite distracting. Nature is a great way to recharge and reset. For my work life I find my own supervision provides incredible support. Sometimes I too go for some therapy, I find that this helps me to learn and discover fresh ways of encountering experiences, particularly when things feel heavy.
You are a therapist in the Three Counties (Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire). What can you share with us about seeing clients in that area?
I find the clients I see and the things they bring tend to have more to do with the current political, economic and lifestyle trends and issues in the UK rather than a particular geographical area. However, I see how these can differ from place to place, when I was working in South Africa, most of my clients were bringing issues related to intense poverty and HIV/AIDs.
What’s your consultation room like?
I work from two different rooms. One of which has two armchairs and comfortable enough space for two people to stand and stretch in, the other larger studio space has two chairs, yoga mats, cushions and much more room for movement. I can also arrange to have access to a similar room for movement that is wheelchair accessible. There is access to parking and comfortable bathroom facilities.
What do you wish people knew about dance/movement psychotherapy?
The word dance sometimes makes people think there will be some kind of dance or dance routine involved, this is not the case and you do not need to have any previous dance experience at all. In fact, you don’t even need to dance in a session. The idea is that it is a creative therapy with works with the body as the medium of expression alongside words. This means that you can bring what you would normally bring to a therapy session and we can explore what you bring in a way that addresses the impact it has on your body and movement as well as your mind.
As one of the creative arts therapies it has the benefit of being able to explore the therapy journey creatively too with music, props and art materials too. There is also the opportunity to focus on spoken word as well. It is in combining the two that many people find a deeper sense of connection and understanding.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
Every time I go for therapy, I learn something new. Mostly therapy has shed light on things and patterns of behaviour I had not been aware of before. Bringing things to my awareness can help me to uncover what no longer serves me, what I can let go of and how I would like to move forward. Sometimes its not about moving forward, sometimes it about learning how to be ok with me right now, in the stillness, experiencing deeper self-compassion which in turn often unlocks a greater ease of flow in me when facing challenges.