Hilda Wengrower

Hilda Wengrower, Ph.D., DMT, teaches and lectures in Israel and internationally. Has a private practice that includes supervision via Skype. Hilda has published papers and chapters on subjects related to arts therapies in educational settings, resilience, DMT with children with behavioral disorders, migration and the cultural embeddedness of the therapist, qualitative research, arts informed research and DMT. She is Head of the DMT section at the Israeli Association of Creative Arts Therapies promoting and organizing conferences and activities. Hilda has co-edited with Sharon Chaiklin the book The Art and Science of Dance Movement Therapy: Life is Dance that has been published in six languages and in two English editions. Is co-editor of the book Traditions in Transition, an ECArTE (European Consortium for Arts Therapies Education) publication, to be published in Sept. 2019. She is the book reviews editor of the International Journal Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy. Contact: mshilda@mail.huji.ac.il.


Every psychotherapy, arts therapies included, is a product of time and it is through time that it transforms. Touch has been part of our practice in dance movement therapy without any special discussion of it until the mid-1980’s/1990’s when the public awareness of abuse through touch rose up. Misuse of touch in psychotherapy and in medical practice called the attention of the media and the communities, law officers and new regulations and punishment were set. There were no legal complaints against dmt professionals and one of the reasons for this is attributed to the fact that touch is part of the therapeutic setting and the contract between professional and client.

Psychoanalysis’ high hierarchy attributed to verbal communication as the only therapeutic tool, prohibited touch much before the 1990’s and it has influenced our field, especially when the therapist adopts this psychotherapeutic perspective.Nowadays we have a fair amount of information that allows us to take informed decisions regarding the positive and negative aspects of touch in the arts therapies at all.

This lecture will present information concerning touch in therapy from different points of view:  developmental, gender, cultural, interpersonal communication, therapeutic indications and contra-indications. According to these parameters and the way it is given and interpreted by the therapist and the patient, touch may change its meaning and function. This presentation integrates research in the areas of dance movement therapy, dance teaching, psychotherapies, early human development,  psychopathology.

Abstract of workshop: TOUCH IN ARTS THERAPIES

In our professional discourse about touch, we tend to relate to it in terms of ethics and this is the most recurrent issue of consideration. Probably it is also the criterion that led the scientific committee of this conference as it can be assumed from its title: Respect and Touch. However, we know that touch is part of the practice in the arts therapies, for different objectives, mostly in Dance Movement Therapy and in Drama Therapy. In both professions, the main protagonist is the body.

As we know that the embodied therapist is a cardinal constituent of the therapeutic process, in this workshop we shall turn the focus of attention to ourselves: participants will explore their personal experience of touch in its different qualities. Our attitudes towards touch are transmitted non-consciously in the sessions, therefore the workshop shall be an opportunity to explore them.

The different meanings of touch, its contributions to the therapeutic process and the risk touch may involve will also be presented and scrutinized. The group setting of the workshop will be a trustful container for learning from our colleagues and ourselves. Although I mentioned dmts and drama therapists, arts and music therapists are also invited. Touch is part of human communication.

Comfortable clothes are recommended to move and lay down on the floor. Barefoot participation. Please bring a scarf and a foam or flexible plastic ball. Any size is accepted.