Carmela Bennett: Somatic Learning

Carmela Bennett

Carmela Bennett

In this edition of Voices of the Cliff — Douglas Scherer explores the connections between somatic learning and leadership development with guest Carmela Bennett. Somatic learning or body work has emerged as a powerful way to develop authentic leaders who are more aware of their values, emotions, and beliefs. Carmela helps us better understand how leaders can become more centered and effective through body awareness. She also discusses how authentic leaders enhance their relationships with others, become more caring leaders, and gain a closer alignment with what has meaning for them.

Get this Podcast (8.0 Mb, 11:34) — Program 1 — October 6, 2010

Program Outline with Time Codes

  • 00:00 – 00:14 — Intro
  • 00:15 – 00:24 — Quick Somatic Learning Overview: Douglas
  • 00:25 – 01:01 — Quick and More Detailed Overview: Carmela
  • 01:02 – 01:16 — Carmela’s Biography
  • 01:18 – 03:21 — Authentic Leadership and Body Awareness
  • 03:22 – 04:24 — Authentic Leadership, Centering, and Aikido
  • 04:25 – 10:01 — Authentic Leadership Relationships and Spirituality
  • 10:04 – 10:59 — Summary: Carmela
  • 11:00 – 11:30 — Sign-off

Links Associated with this Episode

Carmela Bennett’s Biography

Carmela is a trained mental health professional and adult educator with an extensive background in dance, movement studies, and aikido, a martial art grounded in embodied philosophies and practices. Her experiences with these practices have stimulated her desire to understand deeply how somatic learning and practices can be incorporated into broader learning contexts.

Her fascination with the world of movement began at a young age while taking childhood ballet classes. This led to an intensive study of dance in college and for several years after obtaining her undergraduate degree when she danced professionally as a musical theater artist. Her interest in the connections between the lived experience of movement and psychology stimulated her to obtain further training at the Laban Institute of Movement Studies and to complete her Master’s thesis on the relevance and potential impact of dance therapy on adult development. Following graduate school, she began integrating movement work into her therapy work with children and adults, in addition to facilitating training workshops in creative arts therapies for mental health professionals. More recently, the martial art of aikido is an embodied practice that has been a significant influence on her interest in and practice of holistic and somatic learning.

Carmela continues to focus on developing ways to incorporate whole person learning, including somatic learning practices into teaching and curriculum development in various contexts. She is currently completing a dissertation at Columbia University entitled The Role of the Body in Leading and Learning, which explores the impact of a somatically based leadership development program on leaders and leadership, and is completing certification as a somatic coach and Gestalt therapist, all of which will enable her to further incorporate the body into her work as a mental health professional, coach, and educator.

Carmela is dedicated to bringing an understanding of the ways the body is an essential component of learning and change and can be contacted at the following e-mail address further information or discussion:

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