chapter  3
21 Pages

Therapeutic Relationships and Kinesthetic Empathy: Diana Fischman


Kinesthetic empathy is a core concept that has long been mentioned in dance movement therapy (DMT) literature and implemented in dance/movement therapy practice. Empathy is the ability of one person to understand another. It attempts to experience somebody else’s inner life and implies knowing what the other one feels, having information about the other’s

situation and acting accordingly. It arises out of elements that are common in the experience of both individuals who are involved in the empathy process. Considered one of DMT’s major contributions to psychotherapy (Levy, 1992), this construct synthesizes an approach of the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship that includes non-verbal communication, bodily movement, dancing and verbal expression. rough the use of kinesthetic empathy, the dance therapist facilitates the self-development of a client when the process has been blocked or interrupted. It demands that each therapist be open to his or her inner sensations and feelings and be aware of what is familiar in his or her own movement. Understanding, acknowledging, and interpreting are functions inherent in therapeutic processes that aim to relieve human suering. e ways in which these operations are dened determine dierent practices in psychotherapy. Dance movement therapy focuses on the experience of movement sensing and how movement makes sense. e dance therapist gets empathically involved in an intersubjective experience that is rooted in the body.