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Research project (2012 – 2015): Embodying kinesthetic empathy as an intersubjective phenomenon and clinical intervention – a practice based study combining dance movement psychotherapy, phenomenology and cognitive neuroscience.

Supervisors: Dr Beatrice Allegranti and Dr Jonathan Silas.

Research Summary: Kinaesthesia derives from the Greek words 'kinein' (movement) and 'aisthesis'(sense), therefore could be described as the 'movement sense' or the process of sensing through movement. I am predominately interested in how embodied practices can support and/or develop clinicians' embodied empathy of their clients' lived experiences. Kinesthetic empathy is not a new concept however, recent evidence implicating the mirror-neuron system in the brain during movement observation has renewed interest within cognitive psychology and audience research in dance performance. My research hypothesis lies within the actual process of embodiment and the intersubjective space between moving bodies in relationship. In this sense, empathy is viewed not as a passive response of one’s visual processing but as an embodied experience co-created in relationship. Intersubjectivity will be examined within clinical practice using embodied approaches (movement workshops) and cognitive neuro-science methods (EEG testing), side by side. Further, this project will introduce discourse about the relevance of embodied interventions and approaches within clinical practice assuming that empathy is grounded in relational, embodied and intersubjective foundations.

Biography: I am a dance movement psychotherapist (MA RDMP), dance practitioner (BA Hons, RAD TC) and researcher (PhD Studentship University of Roehampton). My 15-year practice has been shaped by my teaching career in dance education, my clinical practice in community and mental health settings (since 2007) and my independent dance theatre work. I currently work within adult mental health and a specialist mother and baby unit in the NHS as well as a local authority family intervention service. My collaborative artistic practice aims to develop interdisciplinary projects, performances and events and includes co-ordination of the Embodying Loss Symposium under CATR Director Dr B. Allegranti (2012), Dramatize Theatre Company performance workshops for adults with learning needs (2012) and De Mentis Silent Stories independent performance study on the lived experience of dementia (2010, 2011, 2012).

Teaching duties: I currently provide guest lecturing input for the MA Arts Therapies Research Methods module (Qualitative Methodology and Research Project) and the MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy training course (Fieldwork Skills and Supervision, Theoretical Approaches and Dance Movement Skills: Observations and Interventions). I also provide assistance in the Psychology undergraduate course (Research Methods module).

More information: http://marinarova.com