Bridging in Group Therapy Using Movement Improvisation

Joan Wittig


In order for a psychotherapy group to progress, each member of the group must be involved in expressing his or her thoughts and feelings. When some members are not expressing themselves, the therapist must intervene to engage those members who are not participating. Louis Ormont uses the term "bridging" (1990, p. 3) to describe the process of facilitating meaningful communication between group members, and to foster emotional connections. The therapist creates connections between group members by asking questions that help the members to talk to one another. For example, the therapist might ask Patient A why Patient B is so silent today. Or perhaps the therapist will ask Patient C what Patient D is feeling when she wiggles her foot like that. Bridging techniques are also useful in helping group members to identify, explore, and resolve resistances. The intervention described that follows involves an adaptation of a form of dance/ movement therapy called "authentic movement" (Whitehouse, 1963). Authentic movement is a simple form in which one person moves in the presence of another. The mover waits for an impulse to move, learning to wait for the movement to come from within, and then follows where it leads. The form of authentic movement is adapted here to create an improvisational structure that can be used as a bridging technique in groups.

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