What is Movement Therapy?

What is Movement Therapy?

Movement is life, life is movement.  If you don’t believe it, just try holding completely still for a minute.  Impossible.  Movement is a human need.  Breath is movement.  Our bodies express our interstate all the time.  We know intuitively if someone is sad or angry.  How?  We are picking up the person’s body language and movement.    Natalie Rogers

Perhaps the easiest way to explain movement therapy is a moving mindfulness in a therapeutic setting.   Dance and movement therapy (DMT) is not a new modality.  It has been around since 1940’s.

The fact that dance/movement therapists are immersed in the language of the body, rather than focusing solely on the verbal, lends characteristics to their work that set it apart from other types of therapy.  The bias of Western culture for cognitive, verbal processing and the proliferation of body-oriented therapies of recent years might cause some to think of DMT as an “alternative” therapy.  But the origins and practice of DMT have more in common with psychodynamic psychotherapies than with alternative therapies and although frequently classified as adjunct therapy, DMT was argued to be appropriate primary therapy some years ago.   Robyn Flaum Cruz. Ph.D  ADTR

At Maria Hull Noosa Counselling the Movement Therapy class is structured and has some unstructured elements.  The class size is small and limited to 5 participants at a time.  Each class runs for 1 hour.  There are 4 parts to the class which include,

  1. Intro,
  2. Warm-up,
  3. Body,
  4. Reflection

Participants are guided through the 4 parts of the session.  Movement and breath are incorporated throughout the class.  There is no need to have any formal dance, yoga or meditation knowledge.  The class is developed to be suitable for anyone.

Movement Therapy class is for anyone wanting to heal emotional wounds, anyone wanting to gain understanding of feelings or not feeling, anyone wanting a greater insight to themselves, anyone who wants to try something different.

While psychodynamic psychotherapy has been around for some time another term has come to the forefront through neuropsychotherapy and interpersonal neurobiology called a ‘bottom up’ approach.  Movement Therapy utilises this approach.  The familiar mental health model has closely followed the medical model.  This has led mental health therapies from talking and relational therapies (a bottom up approach) to a top down approach including electro, genetic, cognitive to chemical interventions.   Dr Dan Siegel and Dr Stephen Porges are part of the new wave of researches leading the way to supporting mental health.  A bottom-up approach includes the relational, emotional and nervous system incorporating the body aspect.

Sensation may be as bottom-up as we get.  Since we live in a body, our within-mind experience is shaped by the physical apparatus that lets us take in energy flow from the outside world.

In some ways, bottom-up, within-mind experiences can be considered as being as close to the present as physically possible, in the literal meaning of it being ‘pre-sensed.”  Daniel J Siegel, MD

The experience will be distinctive for everyone.  We all have a unique set of experiences and even if we shared a similar experience the internal meaning and memory may be different.

The future of interpersonal neurobiology is in understanding that our nervous system expands throughout our entire body and is functionally responding to the interactions with other human beings as well.  I see the future of interpersonal neurobiology as leading to a greater understanding of how social interaction and social support, through a therapist, a family member, or a friend, can facilitate physical and mental health.   Stephen W. Porges

Maria Hull has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts – Dance, Masters in Counselling and Graduate Diploma in Education.  Her experience as a counsellor and recent studies into neuropsychotherapy has helped her realise how beneficial movement therapy could be for clients suffering depression, anxiety, panic attacks and who have experienced trauma in their lives.

At best Movement Therapy is an internal journey of exploration via movement.  Self discovery is what helps us gain meaning and insight.  When we are given the support to make internal connections with our own mind it also supports the integrity of the person.  This is the pathway for holistic mental health and the health of the family, community and hopefully beyond!

The expressive arts – including movement, art, writing, sound, music, meditation, and imagery – lead us into the unconscious.  This often allows us to express previously unknown facets of ourselves, thus bringing to light new information and awareness.  Natalie Rogers

Classes are now available in Noosa every Friday and Thursday.

Bookings are essential – Movement Therapy Classes Book here



Posted in Abuse, Addiction, Anxiety, Art Therapy, Bottom up approach, Childhood abuse and neglect, Counselling, Dance, Dance to De-Stress, Depression, Domestic Violence, Emotional baggage, Emotional Health, Emotional intelligence, Insomnia, Marriage Therapy, Mental Health, Movement Therapy Noosa, noosa, Panic attacks, relationship counselling, Seperation, Sexual abuse, Sunshine Coast, Therapist in Noosa, Trauma, Wellbeing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Emotional Baggage

Recently in Australia the news was awash with a cricket scandal to do with ball tampering, while somewhere in small print was a child sexual scandal that was virtually happening in our neighbourhood.  Two questions I want to ask is

1 . Why is sporting scandal deemed more important than children’s lives?

2. Do people realise the ramifications of childhood trauma and that it has a ripple effect in our society?

The news article came out on 31st March 2018.  I do not want to trigger anybody with details.  Here is the article if you want to read it – Parents accused of drugging and child sexual assault.  The news article alleges that Western Australian and South Australian Police uncovered child sexual abuse and drugging of an eight year old child by her mother, step father and friend of both.  The possibility of further child sexual abuse at ‘swingers parties’ and how there are possibly other children involved.

While I understand how Australia is a sporting nation.  I was once told that it is while watching sport is how Australians show their emotive side.  In other words they have no fear showing emotion while watching sport.  Ok that is a good thing to be expressive.  However, this cricket saga was just that, it went on and on and there was only a slight peep about this child sex abuse and involvement with a ‘swingers’ club.

Is this a one off event?  Well, close to home back in 2017 an Australian reporter along with an Australian teacher were charged with various child pornorgraphy offences.   The article can be read here.  Then going back to 2014 similar child sex abuse that involve family and friends occured in America Alabama  and in a courthouse in Belfast, Ireland  parents were charged for sexually abusing their four children.  Across the internet there are chilling stories about emotional, physical, sexual abuse and neglect to children by their family members.  In Australia statistics of reported child abuse and neglect to child protection services has increased from 2011 to 2017 ( Australian child abuse and neglect statistics ).

“In 2015-16, of the total number of notifications (355,935), 164,987 cases (involving 115,024 children) of child abuse were investigated or were in the process of being investigated.”  CFCA Resource Sheet— June 2017

For me the figure of involving 115,024 children in the years 2015-16 is staggering and saddening.  These are the reported cases.  There are of course many unreported cases of child abuse and many don’t come forward until adulthood.  This is the reason I am writing this blog.  To answer question 2.

Basically, there is a good possibility that you may come into contact with someone who has experienced childhood abuse.  It may be someone at work, it may be someone in sport, it may be someone in the shopping center or it may be someone you are having an intimate relationship with.  No one is going to wear a banner on their forehead saying – ‘I’m a survivor of childhood abuse.’  Not that I think anyone should ask unless they are a professional therapist in a therapeutic setting nor should they ever disclose that unless they felt very safe to do so.  It is important to understand what are some of the childhood effects of abuse and neglect which can been seen as trauma, stress and the effects of on the developing brain. pexels-photo-568027.jpeg

Trauma, stress and the developing brain

“Trauma caused by experiences of child abuse and neglect appears to have serious effects on the developing brain (McCrory, De Brito, & Viding, 2010; Streeck-Fischer & van der Kolk, 2000).”  Read more about this here – Effects of child abuse and neglect for children and adolescents CFCA Resource Sheet— January 2014.  From this research sheet here is the list of possible consequences of childhood abuse and neglect –

  • Attachment and interpersonal relationship problems,
  • Learning and developmental problems,
  • Mental health problems,
  • Youth suicide, Alcohol and other drug use,
  • Behavioural problems, Aggression, violence and criminal activity,
  • Physical health problems,
  • Teenage pregnancy,
  • Homelessness,
  • Fatal abuse

These children who survive are survivors of childhood abuse and neglect.  This doesn’t mean that their life is easy.  Many try very hard to hold down a steady job, seek a long term relationship or to gain consistent sleep.  According to the CFCA Resource Sheet— January 2014 there are a list of other possible consequences from the Effects of child abuse and neglect for adult survivors.

These include-

  • Intergenerational transmission of abuse and neglect,
  • Re-victimisation,
  • Physical health problems,
  • Mental health problems,
  • Suicidal behaviour,
  • Eating disorders and obesity,
  • Alcohol and substance abuse,
  • Aggression, violence and criminal behaviour,
  • High-risk sexual behaviour,
  • Homelessness



It is easy to see and even understand this from a distance but when we are up front and personal with someone who is in distress the view is not always as compassionate.  Showing emotion in western culture only seems to be ok if it has to do with sport, a wedding or a sad movie.  Anything else is deemed as weak, difficult or baby like.  This is what happens in personal relationships or someone crying at work or someone who reacts in a peculiar way to something.   How often have you heard people in the work space saying things like, ‘Can you believe how Josie is crying over nothing!’ or ‘How’s Freds form, he’s hardly ever at work because he always seems to be sick!’  Then in personal relationships we hear phrases such as, ‘I couldn’t stay in that relationship she/he was too toxic’ or you hear that phrase, ‘They have emotional baggage!’


If I can do one thing with this blog – it is I want to show another way to react to the distress of others.  To hopefully respond with more compassion.  What if that person at work who is holding back tears or sobbing quietly in the corner was a survivor of childhood trauma or neglect and a supervisor, boss or fellow colleague said something that triggered their childhood wound?  What if that person hasn’t had a good night sleep in weeks due to childhood trauma or neglect or is under undue stress due to other family or financial issues?  Do you think that person really wants to be crying at work?  Do you think that person wants to be vilified anymore in their life?

What if we looked at ’emotional baggage’ differently?  What if instead of looking at someone as difficult or with a ton of baggage, we looked at them with compassion?  What if we looked at people who are having a hard time coping in the relationship in one way or another that we see that perhaps that person maybe deeply wounded?   It may be difficult to stay in a relationship with that person but it doesn’t mean we need to wound people anymore.


Maybe next time you see someone in distress do something different.  Like just be there for them.  Stop or don’t join in staff room disrespectful talk or better still give voice to highlight a different perspective.  Maybe next time you are in a relationship and your partner yells, screams or has a melt down instead of reacting defensively show some compassion and give hope to that person that not all people in the world are abusive.

I hope by having some insight of childhood abuse and its ramifications that people can change their perceptions and response when distress is front and centre.  It is through safe and respectful relationships that humans grow and thrive.  Not all people are privileged to be brought up in a loving home and no child ever wishes to be abused.    While not everyone who is distressed is a survivor of childhood abuse or neglect the fact is they are distressed and let’s do more comforting than more hurting others.

Next time there is a report of childhood abuse in the news let’s think about the children.  Let’s give thought that these precious young people need a lifetime of support and compassion.  And that their painful memories last a lot longer than a cricket disqualification, and  their emotional wounds cannot simply be discarded at will like unwanted baggage – it is far more complex than than.  While we may not be directly responsible for people’s childhood wounds, we do have the choice to comfort and support instead of giving more hurt.


If you require immediate assistance or would like to talk to a trained professional about  issues described in this blog, please call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

If you believe a child is in immediate danger call Police on 000.

Posted in Abuse, Addiction, Childhood abuse and neglect, Counselling, Couples Therapy, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Emotional baggage, Family, Homelessness, Insomnia, Lawyers, Marriage Therapy, relationship counselling, Seperation, Sexual abuse

I am a bridge!

2018 is off and running!

It is already February and it feels like time has just accelerated.   With my family we enjoyed a wonderful holiday abroad.  We visited Buenos Aires, Argentina and my parents birth place of Montevideo, Uruguay.  I enjoyed the challenge of trying to reconnect with my parents language and my first language of spanish.  It was a great battery re-charger and invigorator.  I was eager to jump back into my practice with a head full and a body energised ready to implement all these new plans.

While I have all these plans to engage with in 2018 not all things always go with the proposed agenda.  That’s life.  So while I had to take some time off to care for my father who was recovering from surgery, I did have some time to think about what the year ahead means to me.

Puente de la Mujer

Puente de la Mujer, Buenos Aires


Metaphors have taken my attention this year.  I asked myself if I could describe myself as something what would that be?  The answer was a bridge.  I do bridge very well – not the card game but actual bridge.  I thought back when I used to play soccer.   While I had some speed and ball skills in my younger years I just couldn’t shoot goals.  However, I found my place on the field by being the deliverer of the ball to the shooters.  I could do that very well.  I was the bridge on the field that took the ball from the back to the front.  When I got involved in a cycling club I was the bridge for the juniors to enter the sport.  When I’m on the radio I am the cultural bridge to the community.  In my profession I am the communication and understanding bridge for individuals and couples.

In my practice the significant metaphor is the pineapple.  Yes, the humble pineapple.

pineapple pic

The pineapple is symbolic of specific times during a relationship that are uncomfortable, awkward, hard to manage, frustrating and confusing yet holds the potential to be a delicious juicy nutritionment.  Relationships are like pineapple sometimes!  Learn to manage the disagreements with care and understanding and be nourished with a more connected and rewarding relationship.

What’s Happening with Maria Hull Noosa Counselling in 2018

  • New classes with movement therapy starting soon!!!
  • Practice recommencement – Relationships, individuals and families counselling
  • Monday nights radio at Noosa FM 101.3 – Mambo Cafe & Juice Bar 8-10pm.  A cocktail of latin Sounds and relationship insights.  Livestream www.noosafm.org
  • The practice now accepts bpay online and in the practice – accepts most major cards.

Individual Counselling session

1 hour counselling session. Face to face at Noosa practice.


Posted in Counselling

It’s a 2017 Wrap!


What a year it has been!  One and a quarter courses down and looking forward to a big jump into 2018.

Firstly, thank you to all my clients of Noosa and surrounds.  It has been a pleasure meeting you all and an absolute privilege that you share your lives with me.  I love my work and I always hope that it is helpful for you.  There is no doubt it is deeply personal work and one that takes some bravery to seek help with.  I wish you all the very best for the festive season and years ahead.

In 2017 I decided to complete a Graduate Diploma in Education.  I did this to give me the option to work in schools as a counsellor.  It has been an interesting journey having to do prac teaching.   While I specialise in counselling, I had to teach my bachelor degree subjects.  These are dancing and drama both are of interest to me but it is a bit hard on my current trajectory not to see anything else but the therapeutic value of those subjects.

In the second semester I decided to start another Graduate Diploma in Neuropsychotherapy.  It was a very full semester!  Great course which made the perseverance worth it.   This was an inaugural course that will be completed in 2018.

neuropychotherapy pic

As we age so do our parents.  I like others have aging parents that need attending to when sick.  Topped with teenage kids it has been busy.

Did someone say I need a holiday?  Well, you may have been thinking that and that is surely what I need!

Maria Hull Noosa Counselling will be

  • Closed from Monday 27th November 2017
  • Opening on Monday 15th January 2018
  • 2018 rates will increase to $100 per 1hr session

Apart from Counselling couples and individual in 2018 I will be adding

  • Adolescent support
  • Movement Therapy for couples and individuals

2018 promo pic

Noosa Community Radio – Noosa FM 101.3

I will continue with the Mambo Cafe & Juice Bar on Mondays 8-10pm in January 2018  Listen in http://www.noosafm.org or go to the App – TuneIn and search for Noosa FM.  I will continue with Latin genre of music.  Hopefully, bringing in some more latino locals with live music and interviews.  And some relationship insights.  

I wish you all the best for the crossover – 2017 to 2018 and hope to meet you soon!

Warm regards,

Maria x

Posted in Counselling

Let go a little and Salsa!

salsa-workshop-keep-calm-and-salsa6 Weeks Salsa Workshop at Peregian Beach @ Dulcie Joe Co

Want to learn how to salsa?

Salsa is fun and social.

Starting Friday 20th January 2017 at Dulcie Joe Co  6-7pm and running for 6 weeks!!!

Dulcie Joe Co                                                                                                                                         3/216 DAVID LOW WAY
  • What a great way to unwind from the week
  • Gorgeous space to learn Salsa and meet new people
  • Learn street latin salsa with influences from Cuba and Columbia
  • Learn Merengue from Dominican Republic
  • Have fun warming up with Reggaeton – latin hip hop
  • Learn the fundamentals of social street latin dancing
  • Learn why I’m so passionate about salsa and street latin dancing
  • Click on the link to book your spot Dulcie Joe Co
  • Lots of great restaurants at Peregian Village to enjoy after each workshop

I’m so looking forward to meeting you and sharing some of my world and experience in dancing with you,

Maria x


Posted in Counselling, Dance, Dance to De-Stress, Fun, Relationship goals, Street Latin Dancing | Tagged , , ,