Healing from Within: Dance Therapy Comes to Georgia
In Georgia, psychotherapy is still something new. Few choose to visit a psychologist and it is still often regarded as something necessary for serious clinical patients alone. However, along with capitalism, accelerated pace of life, urbanized cities and stressful, unstable social environment, there seems to be a growing spiritual crisis, or at least, unrest.
GEORGIA TODAY met Maia Javakhishvili, an innovator in the local psychology field: several years ago, this professional psychologist and dancer decided to introduce the practise of dance therapy, curing ills through certain dancing movements, already a hot thing in the West.
Tell us a little about yourself and your dance therapy
I’m a psycho-pedagogue by profession. During my studies, I discovered that even 2000 years ago, people knew that rhythmical movements, together with music, was a pleasing process, filling one with extra joy and energy. Movement is a basic state of body, and when one moves to music, the body and soul awaken.
Sometimes, people’s illnesses are a figment of their imaginations and only after consultation do they discover that they are in fact perfectly healthy. A great percentage of physical illnesses originate from spiritual traumas. My favorite saying is: be what you are! In this case, one is opened to the best. Our stressful life and terrible rhythm gives us no chance for personal insight, for instance, if we are down and don’t know why. However, excessive studies are not necessary either. We should see reality as it is, neither aggravate nor lighten it. It is paramount to see ourselves in the correct way- and movement therapy helps people to do this, guided by a psychotherapist.
What is your method, does a patient tell their story beforehand or does the opening come with the therapy?
We prefer to consult before starting and if a patient agrees, it is better to have the conversation before starting the course so that we have more information to proceed correctly. However, patients can join the group directly as well. Our mere aim is to make them happy.
So, mind over matter?
Exactly. Three years ago, on New Year’ Eve, my doctor called me and told me straight-out that I had cancer. At the time, my activities in movement therapy were in full swing. Cancer is not a disease that one can meet calmly. However, by means of dance therapy, it is possible to combat even such a perfidious illness as cancer. Actually, this disease is first and foremost cured by movement therapy. I received this bad news as a sign to practically embark on this business. A bit earlier, I had such severe stress that I was convinced something bad would come of it- and I ended up with cancer, which, as many scientists say, is the illness of those who have had their feathers cropped. I thought that I would start dance therapy on myself first and later, I would be able to implement it on others, too. It is possible to control one’s spiritual state – and consequently, when a soul is happy, a body is strong!
Over three weeks, I was totally lost from the sight of doctors and totally immersed in my dance therapy. They called me, insisting I start chemotherapy as soon as possible, but I refused. After abnormally hard work over three weeks, I had new analyses and there was nothing at all. Until today, I have since had a number of oncological patients who left me with splendid results.
What is the list of diseases that you treat?
It raises one’s spirit, as well as being extraordinarily good for ischemia and cardio-vascular illnesses. We also cure dementia, more commonly known as sclerosis. Those people who are obsessed with phobias and disturbances also address us, as well as, in general, depressive or exhausted people who simply need to be distracted.
Is this course connected with serious exercise?
No. The exercises are merely pleasant. A lot of children come, too, as there are plenty of cases of hyperactivity and different syndromes of autism in this age group. We offer both group and individual sessions. Among kids, an immobile regime or attachment to computers has caused the weakening of motility. Children have become physically inert. In villages, they are livelier. However, I can perfectly well understand why they don’t come to therapy in greater numbers- there is a financial barrier. Dance therapy is considered an expensive pleasure worldwide, though I have tried my best to make prices maximally acceptable.
What is the main bonus of movement therapy?
We awaken basic states in people. If we sit down too long, we will find it difficult to move. This is a unique method in psychotherapy that has no side effects. Specialists see the intellectual and psychological state of a person from his/her movement very well. A human being moves as they think. Their negatives can be guessed even from their walking manner, or timbre of voice. Generally speaking, everyone needs a psychologist, however, there still is a certain stigma against going to see one.
What is your main achievement?
Apart from killing cancer, I once had a stone-deaf child who had only 2% hearing in just one ear. By means of apparatus, we reached a tremendous result: she began to talk. Now she goes to an ordinary school and wants to become a gymnast. It means that she has become a real person. This is a great joy and motivation for me.
What are your future plans?
We need a new place to work. And I would like to ask wider society to help me- we need an adapted space to work in, with ramps, to make it possible for those with disabilities to join in our sessions. Ideally such would be centrally located near to a bus-stop. We want to be able to expand our reach to more needy members of society- to spread the ability to find inner happiness and the ability to heal.