We Mind Body Spirit
Wendy Elliott, MA

Kind mind, open heart, calm body

Authentic Movement


Authentic Movement

Authentic Movement is a simple form of self-directed movement, usually done with eyes closed and attention directed inward, in the presence of at least one witness. Movers explore spontaneous gestures, movements, and stillness, following inner impulses in the present moment. The witness watches and tracks inner responses to the mover with the intention of focusing on self-awareness.

Authentic Movement’s original practitioners integrated Jung’s concept of active imagination with modern dance movement improvisation. Students of pioneers such as Mary Whitehouse, Joan Chodorow, and Janet Adler have developed the form in various ways including:

  • as a meditative, spiritual practice that integrates body and mind for increased access to  consciousness.
  • as part of psychotherapy process, for enhanced sense of self and and well-being; often bringing unconscious thoughts to awareness.
  • as artistic support, to connect with creativity and creative process, unblocking and opening to new ideas.
  • as community outreach and development in community long circles, that address and solve community-wide problems.

Individual Authentic Movement Sessions

In individual authentic movement sessions, participants discover the body is the portal for awareness itself. Explorations into one’s inner landscape inform the creative process, contemplative practice and healing on all levels.

Sessions usually last between one to two hours and may include writing, art- making, and further movement and creative process explorations. As consciousness emerges from the body, connections are made between personal meaning, archetypes, dream imagery, and the outer world.

Authentic Movement may also be integrated into psychotherapy sessions, allowing the client to explore issues through an intuitive and body centered approach.

Authentic Movement Groups with Wendy

A typical authentic movement group has between 8 and 12  participants in it. Classes are kept small and intimate to support the process of in depth exploration through the body.  Participants get to know themselves and one another deeply through bringing awareness, curiosity and compassion to whatever emerges from body, be that movement or stillness. An environment of trust and safety is established early on so that participants are free to take risks and explore their inner landscape.

Wendy’s role as a facilitator of Authentic Movement is to provide a non-judgmental presence and witness to the participants experience.  She is committed to her role as a witness which means that you are held and seen for who you are.  There is no such thing as good movement or bad movement, so whatever you do or don’t do, it is honored. Often times when participants begin authentic movement there is a space of waiting for the movement to emerge, nothing happens…but like in meditation, this nothing is a lot of something. Participants get the opportunity to be with the self through the body and whatever emerges from it,  knowing that you are being held and seen….this in and of itself is healing and provides the vehicle for making a bridge between the unconscious and conscious body-mind.

Sometimes participants move with one another and sometimes they do not. It depends on what is emerging in the class. When connection happens through the body in this form, there is a quality of freshness that is hard to describe. By staying with your own experience and connecting with another, you learn what it means to do this in other arenas of your life. You find a way to bring your real and authentic self forward and as you do this, bit by bit, the voice of the inner judge begins to soften and dissolve.

You change as a result of taking an authentic movement class. Creativity is accessed and your self-perception shifts. You discover that you feel more confident and connected in your body. This changes how you move through your life and the lens in which you see, experience and interact with the world.




Wendy’s commitment to the present, her listening skills and her respect as a witness  helped me unveil new fearless creative moments. I am deeply grateful to Wendy because she has been a sound presence while I have journeyed around my own mysteries.
Sabrina Castillo GallusserProfessor of Dance and DirectorMomentum Dance CompanyGuatemala City, Guatemala