Movement has always been a driving force in my life. I have enjoyed challenging myself motorically from as early as I can remember myself, and training in various forms of physical activity, from gymnastics and dance to Aikido and Yoga, has always made me feel good. Thus, after graduating from law school at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and becoming a lawyer, I decided to follow my heart, and I studied dance-movement (psycho)therapy in the University of Haifa.
Several years of work with children with neurological disorders and the wish to improve treatment, led me back to school to complete my Masters and PhD in motor control in the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology. Experiencing the therapeutic impact of movement on both myself and my clients, and wanting to understand ‘how does it work’, I continued with two postdoctoral fellowships: in affective neuroscience at the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, and in brain-behavior interactions in infancy at the Center for Human Growth and Development, both at University of Michigan. This background enabled me to develop my unique interdisciplinary research interest in movement-emotion interaction and its underlying brain mechanisms, behavioral expressions, and therapeutic applications. Through this research, I aim to strengthen and expand our knowledge regarding the theoretical basis for movement-based interventions, and to provide the scientific approval and evidence-based data for their effects. This research is the topic of my TEDx talk: How your Body Affects your Happiness, which has over 290,000 views, and my 2016 paper which was chosen by the Israeli business newspaper ‘The Marker’ as one of the 26 most inspiring studies of the year.
To further contribute to the advancement of the motion-emotion interaction field, I volunteered to serve as a member of the American Dance Therapy Association Research committee, as the main editor of The Academic Journal of Creative Arts Therapies, and as the lead editor of Frontiers in Psychology research topic: ‘The state of the art in creative arts therapies’.
During the past two years, in parallel to my academic work, I devoted my time and energy to study in-depth and become certified as an expert in two movement approaches: Laban/Bartenieff Movement System (LBMS), and the Anat Baniel Method: Neuromovement.
LBMS is a method for describing, analyzing, interpreting and understanding human movement, its complexity, and its interactions with other aspects of life. This body of knowledge is an important base and a valuable tool for any movement-related application such as research or therapy and will serve me well in my future movement-related endeavors.
The Anat Baniel Method: Neuromovement is a method for increasing neuroplasticity and upgrading the brain’s function through movement. This method is based on the Feldenkrais Method and the nine essential principles for its application that Anat Baniel has defined and refined. Being impressed with the overwhelming success of practitioners of this method to improve the condition of people suffering from various neurological disorders, and because its hypothesized underlying brain mechanism is consistent with my scientific approach to movement and with neuroscience findings, I have decided to invest more of my time in it: I am planning to become a practitioner and open a clinic in 2020, once I finish my specialization in working with children with special needs, as well as engage in research that will investigate this method to scientifically explain and demonstrate its effectiveness and neurophysiological underpinnings.