Philosophy & Approach
WORKING WITH THE WISDOM OF THE BODY: THE BODY COMMUNICATES
My work is grounded in a somatic understanding that the body and the mind are one. The mind expresses itself through the body, while the body communicates through movement. When paid attention to, our movements help us connect to ourselves and experience ourselves more deeply. Looking at the body’s language and allowing the body to speak serves as a gateway to the inner landscape.
The tools that I use come from the field of the Expressive Arts and a Somatic Movement Practice, called Movement Ritual, developed by dancer Anna Halprin. In this movement practice, one tunes the body as an instrument to sense and to strengthen one's self.
Trained at Tamalpa Institute I make use of the Life Art Process®. in which an essential connection is made between art and life. The arts are used to express and to inform real life themes and questions; they are used for learning, healing, and transformation.
Developed by the Halprins in the 1950s, the Life Art Process® approach is influenced by dancers, landscape architects, theater performers, visual artists, and poets. In collaboration with Fritz Perl's (Gestalt therapy), Moshe Feldenkrais (awareness through movement), Carl Rodgers (person-centered therapy) and Thomas Gordon (confluent education), it bridged the fields of dance/movement, somatics, psychology, and education. This approach is being used internationally to work with people and communities in the fields of expressive arts therapy, education, consultation, health care, organizational development, community service, and the arts.
An intermodal approach
The original and engaging combination includes movement, improvisational tasks, drawing, creative writing, and verbal sharing all in one session. Through movement activities and somatic check in, people are invited to connect with their sensing body. Sensations, feelings, and thoughts are shaped through shapes, gestures, and dynamics and are further explored through intuitive drawing and creative writing. As people move back and forth between movement, drawing and writing, the dialogue between physical sensation, feeling, and thinking is enlivened. Then our physical, emotional, and mental awareness start to connect and to align.
Welcome your light
and your shadow
In your work with me, you are invited to discover your moves. It is my goal to create a safe space for you, to stimulate you, and to offer you tools and resources that inspire you to live your life more creatively.
Paying attention to the quality and the experience of a movement is key in this work. Sensations, postures, and movement patterns give us insight into who we are, what we think, and what we feel. An individual’s body holds their entire life history, and working with movement consciously and creatively expands the range of movement, feeling, and thought.
Drawing from our senses rather than our conceptual mind allows us to access parts of ourselves that are beyond our ordinary thinking. Colors and images that live inside of us are released when moved to paper. Symbols and shapes give insight into our inner landscape. As the images emerge, feelings shift, and new possibilities arise.
Creative writing helps us make sense and give expression to our experience. Form can be given to buried, unstructured feelings, and thoughts. Containment and integration can be experienced through the structure of creative writing. Letting words arise without censoring is liberating and provides direction and meaning.
Making nature our dance partner invites our senses to open in extraordinary ways. As we mirror the movement of water, the posture of a boulder, the flight of a bird, we open up to the wisdom of Earth. Through moving with awareness of our breath in connection with nature, our inner landscape communicates with the outer landscape in intimate and direct ways. We are invited to listen to nature’s messages.
In this movement practice, we work on a sequence of repetitive movements, focusing on opening up the joints, strengthening the muscles, becoming aware of the connections within our anatomical structure, and creating a sense of balance between action and relaxation. The class varies in its dynamics: sometimes we work dynamically; sometimes we work on subtle, slow movements. We enhance our capacity to sense and experience our body and its full range of motion.
We all share the longing to be seen. Therefore, the role of a nonjudgmental witness is crucial in my work. In a safe and comforting space, you are invited to share your unique expression. Based upon the principles of active listening and nonviolent communication, you will receive feedback that supports your creative encounters.
Working in a group supports you and encourages you to expand your range of movement and response. Through improvisational tasks you are invited to respond in familiar and unfamiliar ways. Improvisation makes room for the unexpected. You are challenged to be present and responsive in and to the moment. Through this form of play with the unexpected we discover new parts of ourselves.
Move beyond the thinking mind
Work With Me
I work with anyone who wants to enhance the quality of life and experience the self in authentic ways.
This work is effective for people who are interested in using the arts for healing purposes, people who want to move beyond traditional approaches of healing. It also works well for artists who are using the arts already but do not yet know how to make their art more personal and meaningful. And last, but not least, it works well for people who are looking for a more embodied lifestyle and meaningful experiences for their personal growth.
I have helped people who were working through the following:
- establishing personal boundaries
- conquering addiction
- healing depression
- overcoming abuse
- surviving grief
- creating a dance theater piece
Experience is not required in either movement, drawing, or writing. You only need to be open to using the arts as a tool for personal expression and creating awareness.
" The art opens me, the art opens me to you, the art opens us to the world and opens the world to us.” (Daria Halprin)
An individual session gives you time and space to work with what is important to you at that very moment of your life. In the session I focus on a balance between checking in verbally, connecting to your physical sensations, and engaging with the tools of the expressive arts. Working in this way allows you to experience your encounter as a whole and to move beyond your thinking mind. You are further stimulated to use those creative strategies in your daily life and to enhance your quality of life in a sustainable way.
In a workshop we explore body parts, postures, and life themes using the tools of the expressive arts. We work solo and with partners and in ensembles to receive multiple forms of stimulation. The dialogue between sensing and expressing enlivens our life force, while we learn to listen to the body’s wisdom and the creativity of the imagination.
Connect to yourself in mindful and authentic ways
HELMA MUELLER, MA, Tamalpa Practitioner, RSME
Whether working in nature or indoors, my work engages the body mind as a vehicle to create awareness, to facilitate healing, and to cultivate change.
As a Tamalpa practitioner, I have taught people of various ages and backgrounds in numerous institutions such as schools, dance studios, and a clinic for drug recovery in the Netherlands.
Within an equine therapy program, I have worked with at-risk youth in Nevada. At the Tahoe Truckee CancerTreatment Center I have facilitated art-based support groups. I currently conduct Life Art Process® workshops at several locations in the Reno area; I teach children at the Reno Sage Waldorf and at the Mountainview Montessori School; and I enjoy working with individuals in my private practice.
Besides my education at Tamalpa Institute, my work is influenced by my somatic movement training, Vocal Dance and Voice Movement Integration in Amsterdam and my studies in cultural anthropology and education at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.
Due to being pregnant and giving birth this spring, there will be no classes till the fall of 2018. Stay tuned to see what is happening in October.
Send me a message to book a session, inquire about workshop opportunities,
or ask a question.
936 Delmar Way
Reno, NV 89509