An embodied performative autoethnography that explores my co-created worldview
‘Relational-biographies for an enlightened life story
Curious about the social creation/construction of my identity I have explored the collective impression of relational-biographical stories and how they
and I have co-created my philosphical worldview.
How do I shape my experience of my place in this world?
Improvising in movement and sound to the words, sounds and images of family, friends, and colleagues who influence me, I consider how they and I have co-created the ever-changing shape of who I am.
Through this process I have come to a new understanding of my philosophical place in this world; a place that we share in our on-going enlivened relationships.
Considering my cultural, biological, and gendered heritage my curiosity in this context includes mutual influence, the social construction of identity, systems of belief, and the implications of worldviews on this socially
Over time my family, friends, colleagues and I have shared the creation of my own myths, rituals, and beliefs.
I believe that adults with learning disabilities have important things to say about being men and women so I have a great interest in researching issues around their gender and sexual identity.
My clinical practice has revealed that topics of sexuality and/or sexual orientation of men and women with a learning disability can be marginalised aspects of their lives. Speaking about gender identity and sexuality can be taboo in many contexts and even more so when talking about people with a disability (Bedard et al,. 2010) who may be infantilised, asexualised and/or denied their gender identity (O’Hara. 2008; Rembis 2010; Wheeler 2007; McCarthy et al 2012). In some circumstances the sexuality of people with a learning disability can be ignored until something troublesome happens (Wheeler, 2007).
Due to our different levels of knowledge, experience, attitudes and feelings, one of the intentions with this work is to support clients to know more about their sexual and gender identity so they are more able to consider informed and acceptable risks (McCarthy et al 1012) in their search for personal relationships. While acknowledging behaviour that may damage or challenge relationships, affirmation of the positive elements of our masculinity (Wilson et al,. 2010) are integral to the work. My clinical practice has shown me that the lived experience of my clients is affected by tensions in the relationship between a social model of their disability and their personal perceptions (Samaritter, 2009) of learning disabilities that are relative to others they see and know (McVittie et al., 2008; Sinason 1992).
My beliefs in the significance of the inter-personal shapes that we make in our relationships informs my research and analysis of the group work and shapes of individuals. My focus on movement shapes and shaping of personal space fits my worldview on intersubjective relating (Berrol, 2011; Behrends, 2012) in movement relationships, where shaping the space we inhabit occurs from a cellular to a fully embodied inter-relational and cerebral level (Allegranti, 2011a).
Allegranti, B. (2011) Embodied performances: Sexuality, Gender, Bodies. London: Palgrave Macmillan
Bedard, C., Zhang, H.L., & K, Zucker. (2010) Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in People with Developmental Disabilities. Sexuality and Disability, 28 pp. 165–175
Berrol, C. (2006) Neuroscience meets dance/movement therapy: Mirror neurons, the therapeutic process and empathy. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 33 pp. 302–315
McCarthy, J., Sinason, V., & S, Hollins. (2012) Intellectually Disabled in Britain: Sexuality and Procreation. eLS. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester. DOI: 10. 1002/9780470015902.a0005217.pub2
McVittie, C., Goodall, K., & A, McKinlay. (2008) Resisting having learning disabilities by managing relative abilities. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36(4) pp. 256-262
O’Hara, J. (2008) Why should I care about gender? Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, 2(2) pp. 9-18
Rembis, M. (2010) Beyond the Binary: Rethinking the Social Model of Disabled Sexuality. Sexuality and Disability, 28 pp. 51–60
Samaritter, R. (2009) The use of metaphors in dance movement therapy. Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy, 4(1) pp. 33-43
Wheeler, P. (2007) I Count Myself as Normal, Well, not Normal, but Normal Enough, Men with Learning Disabilities Tell their Stories about Sexuality and Sexual Identity. Learning Disability Review, 12(1) pp. 16-27
Wilson, N., Parmenter, T., Stancliffe, R., Shuttleworth, R., & D, Parker. (2010) A masculine perspective of gendered topics in the research literature on males and females with intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 35(1) pp. 1–8
An exploration of improvised collaboration in the formation of a co-working relationship in clinical practice. Lingering in the action to stretch the possibilities of what might be when we consider different perspectives to bring greater awareness to dance movement psychotherapy and embodied practice. Catching one another falling, falling into relationship, yielding to falling, balancing on one's own and with each other, using all our senses in the co-creation of meaning.
•Unkovich, G., Butté. C. & Butler, J. (eds) (2017) Dance Movement Psychotherapy with People with Learning Disabilities: Out of the shadows, into the light’. London: Routledge
•Butté. C., G. Unkovich., & D. Whelan. (2012) ‘Turning, listening, moving closer, as you speak, when you dance’. Arts Therapies for adults with profound and complex needs in P, Lacey (ed) ‘Life is for Living’ PMLDLink Journal
•Unkovich, G. (2010) ‘Time to Expand: A Tale of Two Acts’ in T, French & C, Frizell (eds) e-motion ADMP UK Quarterly Vol XX No.3 Autumn 2010
•Butté. C. & G, Unkovich. (2009) ‘When disabilities disappear. Foundations of Dance Movement Psychotherapy practice in Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities’ in T, French & C, Frizell (eds) e-motion ADMP UK Quarterly
Vol XIX No 2.
•Unkovich, G. (2008) ‘Thank you – I will have my body back now’ in T, French & C, Frizell (eds) e-motion ADMP UK Quarterly Vol XVIII No 4. Winter 2008
•Unkovich, G. (2006) ‘Action Empathy or Empathic Movement?’ in T, French & C, Frizell (eds) e-motion ADMT UK Quarterly. Vol. XIV No. 17. Autumn 2006
•Unpublished MA Dissertation: ‘What are the perceived implications of male dance movement psychotherapists’ gender experience in Britain? 2005