Working with unrepresented states in dance/movement therapy for children

Einat Shuper Engelhard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developmental delay or an ongoing experience of object loss during pre-verbal infancy can produce unrepresented states. These are areas of the mind which lack form, language, or any capacity for symbolisation. The objective in therapy is to encounter those very experiences and create presence for them. This article will present the unique contribution of dance/movement therapy for children to those areas of the mind. Using a clinical vignette, it will show how the therapist’s invitation to movement and listening to the patient’s body stories facilitate ‘space’ and ‘time’ for primal mental experiences of ‘presence’ and ‘absence’, experienced in the body. Processing them in the therapeutic relationship is the beginning of the representation of the experience in the mind.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBody, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Children
  • dance movement therapy
  • peek-a-boo
  • unrepresented states


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