by Simon Birch



personal story


At the age of 13 I said to a dear fried that I wanted to learn to dance, and her mum answered: ¨María you just have birds in your head.” One year time took me to gather the courage to enroll in the weekly classes of the neighbourhood club. Ever since then movement and being in contact with my body has given me confidence and courage to fight forward in difficult moments of my life.

Around the age of 21, after having started a career in Communication, a distressful life situation made me change path and dedicate myself to share the benefits of dance and movement with people around me. Since then I have deepened my knowledge in different disciplines: dance movement therapy,  yoga, neuroscience, Gestalt, flamenco, Mindfulness, improvisation, Diafreo, 5 rhythms, Art therapy, Bioenergetics, Schema therapy… anything related to therapy, body and creativity.

Also since the age of 19 I have volunteered, with very diverse and vulnerable populations, orphan children, teenagers from difficult backgrounds, migrants and refugees, sexually abused girls and sufferers of domestic violence.


I work as a registered Dance, Movement and body oriented therapist in i-psy Intercultural Psychiatry, from Parnassia Groep, an ambulant psychiatric center in Amsterdam. You can read more about my work here

In my private practice I aim to support and help individuals to improve their contact with their own bodies,  develop interoceptive, communicative and expressive skills; self esteem and assertivity; improve the emotion regulation, sexual or sleeping difficulties.

Moreover,  I am creating L I B R A Z, a non profit organization to provide movement and creativity-oriented trainings to women and children who endured traumatic experiences in their lives. Read more about my social projects here.




  • Enrolled in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy from University of Amsterdam – 10 days


  • 50 hours Schema Therapy Basic and Advanced Level with Fieke Bosma – Rotterdam – 8 days.
  • Motivational Interviewing – Castricum, The Netherlands – 2 days
  • Introduction to Pesso Therapy with Arnoud van Buuren – Utrecht – 7 hours
  • Play therapy and Schema Therapy with Mieke Boots – 7 hours


  • 20hours Trauma Sensitive Yoga from the Trauma Center in Boston. Kopenhaguen, Denmark – Three days.
  • Symposium Co-creating body of knowledge – Improvisation and composition in Dance Therapy


  • Medical Neuroscience Introductory course – Duke University – 13 weeks (over 120 hours of self-study)
  • Training and Learning Programs for Volunteer Community Health Workers – John Hopkins University – 6 weeks


  • Master in Dance Movement Therapy – Three years – Codarts Rotterdam – 2012/2015


  • Reichian Mind/Body Therapy and Dance Therapy by Johanna Climenko -Amsterdam – Two days
  • III National Congress of Creative Therapies – Vitoria, Spain – Three days


  • Bachelor in Communication – University of Barcelona and University of the Basque Country – 2006/2011


  • +5 years of teaching creative and expressive dance workshops
  • +4 years of experience as movement therapist (over 5000 hours of work)
  • +8 years of Iyengar Yoga practice
  • +9 years of Flamenco Dance practice
  • + 16 years of several dances, movement and therapy practices (dance improvisation, active meditation, oriental dance, Gurdjeff movements, Ecstatic Dance, contact improvisation, 5 rhythms, Gestalt, Family Constelations, Alexander Technique, Salsa, Sufi Whirling, Method Acting theater…)

body movement therapy

I work as a body oriented and dance movement therapist in i-psy Intercultural Psychiatryan outpatient mental heath center in Amsterdam part of Parnassia Groep.

We accompany clients suffering from depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, chronic pain, conversion, acculturation and migration related problems.

Our clients come from various countries and cultures: Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Canada, Portugal, Brazil, Peru, Turkey, Marocco, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, among others. The intercultural aspect is essential in the adaptation of the treatments.

I support the work of psychologists, psychotherapists, system therapists, schema therapists, psychiatrists and art therapists, from a non verbal and body oriented perspective. The treatments I offer are broad and various and I always underline the collaborative aspect of therapy: you and me design the treatment together, you decide what works best for you.


  • Trauma

Learn to integrate traumatic experiences, recover a healthy connection with the body (by sexual or physical trauma),  Grounding, Stabilisation.

  • Aggression / Emotion Regulation

Deal with uncontrolled anger outbursts or help to get in contact with your emotions.

  • Self image / Self esteem

Improve self confidence and distorted body image.

  • Panic/ anxiety complains / stress / burn out

Learn relaxation, breathing, stress release and self care

  • Boundary Setting / Asertiveness

Learn to set limits and improve communication, presence and posture.

  • Schema Therapy for personality disorders

Using Schema therapy from a body and movement oriented perspective.

  • Psychosomatic complains (Headache, back pain, stomachal pain…)

Recognise body signals, foster body awareness, learn to cope with pain.

Techniques used in the sessions

  • Dance movement therapy methods
  • Emotion regulation and distress management skills
  • Breathing techniques
  • Schema Therapy techniques
  • Visualisation and imagery
  • Mindfullness / Active Meditation
  • Role plays and Chair technique
  • Grounding and stabilization techniques
  • Progressive relaxation and stress-reduction techniques
  • Cross modal techniques (combining arts/video and movement)
  • Laban Movement Analysis


social projects

Since I am 19, I volunteer with diverse social and art projects, mainly focused on the wellbeing of children and women. In 2015 with the help of three other women we oficially founded LIBRAZ:


LIBRAZ is a small-scale non profit foundation that uses dance, movement and art in its various forms in different contexts:

From developing therapeutic workshops for individuals that suffered traumatic experiences (like victims of war, sexual/domestic abuse), to creating together with vulnerable populations artistic projects, to bringing the stories of these individuals to performance.

We believe in the strength of movement and the body to foster resilience in individuals. We value art, dance and creative expressions of the self as motors of change, awareness and integration.

It is completely VOLUNTARY BASED.

The following are some projects until now:


from ashes to life

In the context of the 10th Exhibition of IPSY – Intercultural Psychiatry “Art for Heroes”, Marsuwa Selibere (artistic name) and LIBRAZ created an art-video story. “From Ashes to life” is the journey of how somebody recovered from sexual abuse.

LIBRAZ collaborated in the production and editing of the video. The material, all the paintings, poem, edited images and the concept was created by Marsuwa Selibere during the dance movement therapy and art therapy sessions in IPSY. This piece was shown in ROZET Cultural Centre in Arnhem during the Autumn of 2018.


hands in movement

In “Shadows to dance”, the 9th Exhibition of Ipsy – Intercultural Psychiatry, LIBRAZ and 4 other participants created “Hands in movement” short dance videos using exclusively the hands, music and the background they would choose. Not exposing their whole body created safety and ensured the anonimity of participants.


caminhada and 7 senses

Together with the arts therapy department in ipsy, LIBRAZ was part of the development and organization of the 8th Exhibition of Ipsy, “Geheimend des levens” in the Oranjekerk, Amsterdam.

LIBRAZ collaborated in the creation of “Caminho”, an art movement video project and “7 senses of movement” a dance art performance project. In the creative process we used life experiences, paintings, movements and words of two participants of the dance movement therapy sessions.

Art and movement workshops for women and children refugees of the Syrian Civil War living in a neighbourhood in Istanbul, Turkey.

In March 2015, LIBRAZ travelled to Istanbul to research possibilities for developing a project with the Syrian communities. Two pilots, both with women and children were executed with positive feddback. We researched the possibility to collaborate with schools on the Syrian border but the gubernamental limitations prevent us from continuing.


collage fier

Dance Therapy for young teens involved in the “loverboys” problematic in Leeuwaarden and Rotterdam, NL

During the Summerschool 2015 of Fier Foundation, I gave two dance and expression workshops to teenagers from 12 to 17. Fier provides assistance to children and young people who have been confronted by violence and abuse in the context of relationship, lover boy problem, honour disputes…


Flamenco and self confidence workshops for women and children who experienced domestic violence in Amsterdam, NL

I developed the first project in the Netherlands in the Srping of 2014, at a women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence, run by a recognized foundation in Amsterdam, Blijf Groep. A total of five sessions for women, and two sessions for mothers and children were organised, leading to the participation of 12 women and 6 children.

Flamenco dance techniques were used as a framework and combined with dance movement therapy methods to help participants: release disturbing feelings and foster emotional-regulation, improve their self-image and self-esteem, strengthen beliefs and feelings of capability, and promote self-efficacy and motivation.

2013/2014 – DANCE & HELP formula

collage dance&help

Dance lessons where half of the money supported social projects, Amsterdam, NL

During two years I organized flamenco oriental classes in Amsterdam, where half of the money gathered from the participants was used to establish LIBRAZ oficially.


collage palmera

Choreographic creation with women +65 from Casal La Palmera, Barcelona, Spain.

Using the improvisation and self created movements of 65+ women of La Palmera, we designed a touching dance performance presented for the neighbourhood. One part included a Marian Chace circle where each of the women improvised and expressed something unique and the rest of the participants would follow, changing leading. Their enthousiasm and commitmment was remarkable.


romani_gipsy mothers

Movement workshop to foster the connection between mother and infant, Badalona, Spain.

In a suburb of Barcelona, thanks to the help of a neighbourhood initiative, seven mother and their kids gathered with me in a workshop where we worked on attunement, mother and child bonding and self care skills.


collage armenia

Aesthetic education of children that had lost one or both parents in Erevan, Armenia

In Zatik Orphanage, we organized a artistic  groupal creation with more than 20 kids and teenagers. A performance mixing elements from armenian and flamenco dances, popular songs and expressive gymnastics.

The objectives of the general project were to promote creativity among the 50/60 kids living there, improve their English and social skills and organize sports and games according to the capabilities and age of the orphans.




“It makes me feel proud of myself again.”

Amina, 30, Morocco, participant of “Flamencame” project, Blijf Groep, Amsterdam NL

“We are all women here in the shelter, with a lot of stress, without being able to express our emotions(…) and during these sessions  we were able to get  rid of our aggression feelings through the dance, we learnt to say yes and no,  to feel stronger, and more self confident.”

Fariha, 23, Pakistan, participant of “Flamencame” project, Blijf Groep, Amsterdam NL 


“María has a warm and enthusiastic character. She shows to be a woman that stands behind her idea and the reason of her projects, by word and attitude. Clients reacted positive and were interested in the expression. They made even a video and kept asking for María. For us it was also a positive experience.”

Floor Dudink, working in Blijf Groep, Amsterdam NL

“I learned to just do what comes to my mind and not be ashamed of it. And how much moving can give to me – change my mood. I liked the way you handled us a lot. Everbody could bring his/her own thoughts. In general it was  avery nice group where there was not that ‘special kind of teacher’, but a group of people that worked together. “

“I learned to feel free by dancing and use my feelings to move my body, to move my emotions by moving the body. I loved your energy by dancing and ‘teaching’ you didn’t say how we have to do steps or motions. It was great that we were allowed to do so much with our own ideas. “

Anonymus participants, Interdisciplinary workshop on well-being and creativity, University of Kassel, DE

“I am doing now things that I had actually never done before. Before it was only breaking, crashing. So I find it very beautiful that I can also be creative (…) and not only with your hands or whatever but just with your whole body, with your mind. (…) You open up. Your thoughts become more open, you don’t stay in the same negativity. You see that there is something different. Something beautiful.”

Man diagnosed with depression due to traumatic experiences in the past, Mentrum Psychiatric Centre, Amsterdam NL

are you interested?

Are you searching individual therapy or group sessions?

Do you have a project or a company and are interested in adding a movement component?

You can fill in the contact form or write an email to

You can also have a look at the blog clicking here!