Within the frame of SPARKS Project – Somatic Practices, Art and Creativity in the field of care three members of the Hungarian SPARKS Team (Ferenc Kálmán, Ildikó Bóta and Sándor Szűcs) worked together with children of the department of severely multiply disabled infants at Budapest Early Intervention Center, exploring BMC® ideas in developmental facilitation and integrating with previous experiences.
We emphasised to open this lab for professional visitors as well as parents and also to share practical results with staff. During the two years of SPARKS we had about 70 lab events engaging children in cca 160 sessions.
As a direct result of the SPARKS and especially this subproject the BMC® will be officially included in the pedagogy program of the Institute and lab will continue in a higher time frame in different activities.
Experiences of the two years’ work are in the following article:
Body-Mind Centering® in early intervention in Hungary
author: Sándor Szűcs, physiotherapist, Budapest Early Intervention Center
Body-Mind Centering is a term difficult to translate to Hungarian. It may have lots of meaning but I prefer to say let the body conscious which expresses its essence to me. The word lab refers to working together including an aspect of research. Research but not so much mentaly oriented but more in empiric sense of exploration. A deep exploration which applies fresh scientific knowledge as it explores diverse concepts in the practice and the integration. Labor in latin means also the result of the work, the piece, the creation which might be also part of the vocabulary to describe our common work and give it a wider interpretation.
Our great journey within the SPARKS Project full of enriching experience is slowly comming to its end. I hope it is not too much to bring everything happened to us in these two years into the frames of a single picture. We have been travelling between countries, people, and of course in body and mind.
As I look at our group now under the name Lab I see it became the practice scene or center from a point of view of all experience we went through in each journey. The Lab was able to work at the kindergarten department for children with severe multiple disabilities of Budapest Early Intervention Center and will continue existing after the closure of the Projekt and will actually have double time as before. Moreover we’ve received a request for a deeper involvement in preparing a new pedagogic program for the kindergarten, forming its structure mainly on practical but also on conceptual level. So it seems like we keep getting space, support and attention from the kindergarten and our discoveries and propsals will be integrated in the everyday life of the department or could be even further dveloped – this is the real success of this recent period.
It’s been my intention to miss describing more closly what our team is about because I feel this might take us beyond the developmental therapeutic context. It would lead towards the realm of the arts even it wants to be casual and doesn’t require any exclusivity, authority but more accessability and transparency. The essence of the Lab is providing support for everyday things. The key issue is creativity, which interweaves and connects the life of all. Within this context for me the Lab is a space for the creativity of childe, space of play: communication, motion, self awareness, specificity, similarity, attachement, authonomy, learning, emotional expression, freedom, life.
It’s been exiting to travel in different countries along the Projekt, seeing other systems of care, and meeting so many great professionals. We have completed an amasing journey inside the body as well, we’ve got to know its layers, functioning, development and formation from a different angle. And we’ve explored all these through working in the Lab, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously just by following our impressions. This is the point where you can catch a very important character of Body-Mind Centering: that it shapes and transforms the professionals also, not only at his professional but even his general human and personal aspects on an almost invisible way. It is a gentle method which rather just follows or gives proposals. It doesn’t show rather searches the way, and gives an accompanion for those who are interested to follow the path of either the childe or the therapist. When I witnessed BMC Practitioners on classes of experiential demonstrations I often thought that children might feel like this when they meet someone. Body contact, touch and being moved by someone else or even getting instructed might make you dependant and helpless. Here you can quickly forget about inconvenience, and experience joy of simple play, and experience self. It is realy difficult to find words, I can just encourage everyone to become part of all of this.
The approach of BMC doesn’t intend to just shape the self or offer certain tools for professional use, a „key” for the childe, but tries to consider all aspects and integrate them. Many schools have similar approach but for me this is the most fluent. It neither tries to hide difficulties, or avoid meeting them, nor says that its the only possible way of ressurection. It allows to apply any methods in a situation, and awakens a type of creativity what pioneering professionals and the artists certainly have had:
use anything free you’ve got to know, apply always what you need – and so you may gain new experience.
Why is this approach useful: because it is always specific to the individual childe and prevents automatism. I hope you know why you must avoid automatism in rehabilitation: becuse it is a mistake and symptom in the same time. Symptom of burn out of the professional and the same time it doesn’t allow the person to find his individual way. Complex aproaches often try to avoid the professionals from mental as well as physical burn out. All these tendencies can be found in the work of Berta Bobath és Karel Bobath and in Body-Mind Centering alo created by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. The comparison is not accidental: Bonnie had a close professional relationship with the Bobaths who developed an approach that is still the highest standard in the world of developmental facilitation even today.
By considering the interrelationships, the feelings and other aspects of the persons and supporting the experession of self, BMC sets an evaluation grid which can relate to any behavioural forms and reactions. This is a key issue from the point of the childe as well as the therapist and the parent. What could be better base for a shared activity than an open and free communication in a good sense. This is how motivation can be raised and movements from within can be organised.
My point is that only internally initiated movements are really functional, effective and goal oriented.
On the other hand we can also say that movement from within always have an expressional impact. It is than the job of the environment – or the professional in our case – to give an apropriate interpretation and mode of integration.
We all know that help doesn’t mean to act instead of someone but to make the person able to do a certain thing. You can make someone able to function in terms of carry out a movement but also to self estimate, reflect and accept the self. Where does this work begin? Inside us! I can’t guide anyone on the way before I have passed through my own difficulties. One can not step over or go around but have to cross through. Might be difficult but an approach like BMC® or a team like ours could provide support. It leaves time and offers space for difficulties to anyones. And for the childe also to shape us! Without this you can’t be present on this level of communication and motion. Everything might influence us we just have to allow change to happen and the situation to guide us together with the ”childe who might know the best” which is the most advantegous way.
This project has been founded with support from the European Commission.
This video reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission
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