Body-Contact-Training: Is an embodied communication training (for improving social skills)

Humans are social beings. The need to connect with each other is one basis of our being. If we lose  the ability to connect, we experience isolation and loss of dignity. This has massive consequences for us and our societies (e.g. in 2018 the UK government announced a strategy to combat loneliness).
For people in social, educational and custodial professions it is necessary to develop a high degree of sensitivity in how to approach and come into compassionate contact with patients and clients.
The same applies to all professional fields where there is interpersonal contact. These skills are essential, but they are frequently overlooked. B-C-T provides the appropriate training.

Body-Contact-Training is a physically oriented training for the strengthening of interaction and communication between individuals. B-C-T supports and refines body awareness and releases stress. B-C-T helps people experience themselves (individually and in contact with others) in the "here & now". In B-C-T, you will practice nonverbal communication through movement and find or rediscover the joy of moving. The training provides core-learning experiences in the fields of: body awareness, communication and boundary awareness.
I use different methods of bodywork (excercises similar to bodyworks like Pilates, Feldenkrais, Dance Therapy, Contact Improvisation) and I guide you through movement and dance experiences and improvisations. Some exercises are designed for the individual and others for pairs or groups.
The training is open to anybody with an interest in a body-oriented form of training and self-care. It is suitable for those who want to reconnect with themselves and their inner resources (e.g. experiencing vitality loss or signs of burn-out) and those who want to hone their skills for getting into postive contact with others.


Elaborated description

Body-Contact-Training is a physically oriented training for the strengthening of interaction and communication between individuals.

-Supporting and refining body awareness and releasing stress.
-Sharpening self-awarenesss and self-care (in relation to body, mind-set).
-Experiencing yourself in the here and now (individually and in contact with others).
-Serving as an internal adjustment for individuals, e.g. What is my current position
 (private/professional)? How do I want to prepare myself for challenges and needs related to
 contact with others?
-Experiencing group dynamics and positive teamwork, e.g. How hierarchies form and take effect.
-Practising nonverbal communication (function and constructive uses).
-Strengtheing of the self-esteem in relation to others.
-Learning to open up to others more easily.
-Expanded repertoire of exercises for people working with clients, patients, participants.
-Recognition and demarcation of limits in interpersonal interaction and communication.

Who is it for?
It is a comprehensive training beneficial to students as well as to professionals, especially within the occupational field of "helping" professions such as social work, education, medicine, therapy, bodywork. B-C-T can also be a very helpful tool for those who study or work in the economy, architecture, and arts. The training is structured in modules and flexible for different learning targets and needs.

The first part of the method consists of physical excercises to develop body awareness (excercises similar to bodyworks such as Pilates, Yoga, Feldenkrais, Shiatsu, Dance Therapy, Contact Improvisation). Another part teaches practical steps for improving ways of getting in and out of resepectful contact with others, including starter exercises inspired by Contact Improvisation, a dance style that takes advantage of the contact of at least two dancing bodies.
Every training session concludes with a period of group reflection on the experiences gained, and how they can be applied to personal and professional life.

3 Core-learning experiences of B-C-T:

Body awarenesss: Building the capacity for noticing yourself and others
-Experiencing the body through motion.
-Deepening the skills of observation and perception.
-Atuning to the body's internal signals.
-Sensing the signals of others.

Communication: Verbal and nonverbal practise
-Improving sensibility to nonverbal communication.
-Discovering and sharpening your own existing ressources.
-Learning nonverbal ways of approaching others and being in contact with them.
-Developing appropriate reactions to others' nonverbal signals.
-Practising verbal articulation of needs in relation to others.
-Practising constructive exchange with one another about your experiences.
-Applying gained knowlege from B-C-T to personal and professional parts of life.

Boundary awarenesss: Recognition and demarcation of borders in interpersonal interaction and communication
-Sharpening the experience and estimation of one's own boundaries and those of others.
-Exploring the variety of personal states in which limits play a role (with regard to proximity, 
 curiosity, self-protection, risk, safety, motivation, resignation, power, vulnerability).
-Developing sensitivity to another person's body reactions as an expression of their boundaries.
-Practising benevolent encounters (e.g. respectful touch, mindful contact).
-Practising confident expression and protection of one's boundaries (through bodylanguage and verbally)

Structure of training
Each unit starts with an intensive warm up to activate the muscles and increase flexibility and mobility; this prepares the body for more intensive moving. It also prepares the participants to connect with their own bodies so that they can experience their bodies in a positive way and get to know them even better.
After warming up, the group will begin guided improvisations. We start without physical contact. Example exercises include: crossing the room in relation to space and the each other; making movements inspired by different qualities (e.g. playing with various aggregate states); working from movement impulses (e.g. pinball in the body) and other influences (e.g. exploring imaginary environments, such as a jungle, a waiting room, etc.).
Most people have preconceptions and judgements about what movement should look like. It is therefore important to encourage a free-form approach to moving. This supports the growth of the participant's self-confidence and individual creative expression.
Now that their bodies are warm and sensitised, participants are ready for simple technical excercises in approaching other bodies, e.g. how to touch with a hand or giving weight very gently; how to receive touch or take the weight of the other; and how to transmit the touch/weight to a third person. Everybody learns safety skills to avoid injuries. We also do excercises for dealing with different people's boundaries and comfort levels around touch, aswell as how to let closeness with others occur in a comfortable way.
For the next part we will work with different contact improvisation exercises, these are dancing exercises in which participants are moving and free to decide for how long and how often they make physical contact and dance with one another. Here they have the opportunity to implement their new knowledge by trying out different ways of contacting and separating with other people. In doing so they build up courage and develop trust.
We finish with a verbal evaluation of the group's new knowlede and discuss strategies for applying it to situations in their personal and professional lives.

Requirements for participation in B-C-T

Participants must be willing to engage in physical movement. They should be prepared to improvise, to give and receive touch, and to make physical contact with other participants, and with the space and floor. They must also be ready to work barefoot.

Proposal for a training
Tutorial on request: Periodic units depending on agreement (weekly/monthly/over a semester).
Week-long intensive courses and one-off seminars are also possible.