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Body Mapping with the spirit Of Frida Kahlo – MEXICO !



(Images of Mexican Trees of life)



Another amazing and transformational Body Mapping weekend in Mexico City!  I’m hoping that the owners of the maps give their permission for me to share some pictures soon.  I travelled there over Easter and collaborated with a friend and colleague who is a Play Therapist and has a studio next to her house and had the privilege of working with a group of 6 wonderful people of all ages.  Her house and studio is set in beautiful gardens on a high hill on the outskirts of the city, almost in the countryside and is surrounded by orange trees, bougainvillea, and cacti – a really beautiful spot for a retreat.   My friend translated Spanish to English and vice versa, and did a magnificent job, given the subtleties and personal nature of the words.  She and her husband also cooked up delicious and wholesome vegetarian food for each meal time.

Being in Mexico – Frida Kahlo’s presence is everywhere and I can’t help making links between her self portraits and Body Mapping portraits.  She didn’t paint about other people, she painted about her own embodied experience; about what physically happened to her body, about how she felt, who she loved, where she physically came from, and she captured herself in her vulnerability as well as in strength.  I love the portrait where she sits in a suit like that of her lover, Diego, she adopts his posture, wide and open and easy.  Was this a way of being she envied ? Or a way of being she wished to bring into her life?  Did her art helped her to transform her experience and to give voice to her longings?

In Body Mapping, we  allow space and time for taking our gaze from the outside world to our inside world, our felt sense and the embodied stories that we live each day.  I help people to do this through slowing down, taking time to become aware of our body, perhaps becoming still, closing our eyes, attending to our inner sensations and impulses.   Gradually our mind’s eye and imagination come together so that we notice colours, shapes and images.  By bringing these alive with art materials, we begin the creative process.  These images can become potent symbols for growth and transformation.

By returning to the body we can perceive our sensual desires for perhaps, more movement, or more rest, the desire to be in nature more, or perhaps water, to dance or to meditate, to be in or around a different kind of energy, to pursue a creative outlet or perhaps to fulfil some kind of sensual need that is not being met.  Sometimes it may reveal something as simple the need to breathe with more presence, awareness and space, or the need to have more empathy for ourselves.  These simple, natural, bodily desires can be so fundamental to our well being and we may find that they give us what we need rather than what we ‘think’ we want.

I researched contemporary Mexican authors before I went and began reading ‘Sidewalks’ by Valeria Luiselli.   It’ a beautiful book where she muses on many things as she wanders through Mexico City.  She speaks about maps and how they work on the imagination :

“maps don’t impose any limitations on the person studying them.  Only on a static timeless surface can the mind roam freely”

This is the power of the map!

Next Body Mapping – June 9th and 10th at Chisenhale Dance Space.







Mentorship complete !


Having completed my Body Mapping Mentorship with Annette Schwalbe in July 2017 I am now developing my own approach to this work and setting my own workshops. Working with images in the body is something that I have been exploring for many years through my somatic movement work, particularly through Skinner Releasing Technique. And I always remember one of my tutors of art therapy saying “never underestimate the power of the projected image”. She was absolutely right. Images, symbolism and metaphors, when they arise in the body can be immensely powerful.



Body Mapping – Sensing Patterns

This is the Autumnal Body Mapping – now simply called – Moving and Being Workshop.  I like to think of it as an opportunity to open our awareness to the quantum realm – it’s a creative space that honours embodied experience alongside the stories that we use to describe our experience.  The coming together of women in this creative space is always a potent experience and its an antidote to our busy, thinking, doing lives.

What you might find, create or bring into your life as a result of a making your map – is yet to be known.


Feedback from a previous participant : “During the second meditation, it felt like I had become my image and I experienced a feeling of calm and levitation.  I definitely was not expecting to feel that”.

There are still places left for the Moving and Being workshop on the 29th October.  Do join us!

Psychoanalytic Approaches

March 2015

Psychoanalytic Approaches to Work with Under 5’s in a Changing World. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.

I attended this 5 day short course in March 2015.  Many of the case studies were extremely traumatic to listen to and included working therapeutically with families in hospital wards and documented the use of smart phones and technology in the clinical space.   In my own work with children, I work with whatever they choose to be their voice until they can find it within themselves, and use whatever space we find ourselves in.

Primitive anxieties – fear of loss, death and disintegration were returned to again and again.  Through all the clinical case material that was shared, the therapist’s ability to remain centred, reflective and containing while working with extremely complex situations and traumatic emotional states was impressive. Their capacity to create and hold space for the tangle of human relationships and emotions to to be perceived and felt without fixing, instructing or withdrawing – was inspiring.


Entelechy Arts

April 26th 2015

Entelechy Arts Workshop – Developing Inclusive Arts Practice
– The Barbican Centre.

Entelechy make process based art works with members of the community and this workshop was designed to be an opportunity to experience “the multi sensory and embodied, relational work that is central to the company’s practice”. Working in the public spaces of the Barbican we moved together, made ambient soundscapes with the materials around us, and explored a mixture of found and treasured objects as the beginnings for sharing and making stories and images. Reflecting on our creative decision making allowed us to identify the values, beliefs and ethics that we live and bring forth in our work.

I was particularly interested in learning more about their ‘Ambient Jam’ – an event that brings together able and disabled artists, musicians and dancers, and was excited to be invited to join the next Ambient Jam event in June, as a mover / facilitator.

being in practice and process

July 30th 2016

I’ve just returned from a delicious and rejuvenating retreat in the rolling hills of Hereford moving and being with Suprapto Suryodarmo and experiencing his ‘Joged Amerta Movement’.  For more info see :

This year I have also worked with Helen Poynor (see who was a student of Suprapto Suryodarmo.

And Annette Schwalbe (see Annette will be mentoring me to begin to integrate her process of Body Mapping into my work. Email me for more info about this and visit Annette

Movement Portrait

May 2nd 2017.  Movement Portrait.

Made by Elaine Mercer.  I improvised some movement and I wrote the words, inspired by my experience during a somatic movement exploration.  Elaine made a whole new dance with her editing.  Have a look :


Body Mapping

July 2017 – Body Mapping

I am an approved Body Mapping Practitioner !  Thanks to Annette Schwalbe who awakened my creativity, sensitivity and sensuality with her Body Mapping and generously shared her skills and knowledge with me.   Visit her in Bath for a rich and nurturing weekend ( or join me for one day Body Mapping workshops here in London.

This is my practitioners map.  Each map is entirely personal and utterly different and it’s not about being good at art, it’s about finding visual forms to express your somatic, embodied experience.