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Approach to my work
Dedicated to promoting the use of play and creative arts therapies to enable people to reach their full potential by alleviating social, emotional, behaviour and mental health problems.

"Movement is first and fundamental in what comes forth from a human being as an expression of his intentions and experiences." (Rudolf Laban, 1976)


We express ourselves through our bodies before we learn to talk or walk. Our feelings are conveyed through movement. As we grow, feelings and actions become less spontaneous and more conditioned. Movement is a way of bypassing the conscious mind and making contact with the inner emotional world. To this end repressed feelings and thought patterns can be explored in a non-verbal realm.


For much of my work I use an approach called Developmental Movement based on the theory, practice and philosophy of Laban and Sherborne It is a method of working in which the movement is securely based in normal developmental movement experiences. It is an inclusive approach to teaching and working with movement and one that is well grounded in Laban's Movement Theory, which I have been developing for over 40 years. In recognizing the importance of Developmental Movement and how it is able to complement other therapy concepts I hope to make possible improvements in handling, touch and activity for clients of all ages who in the past have experienced difficulties in these areas. I am not concerned with ‘performance’ but efficiency and in developing physical and emotional potential through movement which is fundamental to everybody.

About my work

Developmental Movement Play (DMP)

Developmental Movement Therapy and Courses are widely recognized as being beneficial in the emotional development of children. It also has therapeutic value. Developmental Movement Play is an innovative early intervention that addresses the needs of two generations by providing a service for both the parent and child. It was developed in the 1980s by Dr. Janice Filer as the result of a lifetime's work in the field of dance and movement. The original idea came from a union between children's wish to dance and the need to develop a programme to address the poor attachment relationship and negative parenting styles of some of the parents attending movement workshops.














All children and their parents can be included in the practice of Developmental Movement Play regardless of their stage of development, physical ability, class or culture. Participants can engage creatively in a process to further their emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration, develop confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. Developmental Movement Play is a very personal form of dance and movement that is not easily explained in words. In "Jan Filer Developmental Movement Therapy and courses" There are no steps to learn, and the only way to understand this style of practice fully is to do it.

Psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance

This psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance is based on the principle that movement reflects an individual’s patterns of thinking and feeling. Emotions and perceptions of disability are invited into the dance activities to be expressed and released as a natural part of what is happening in the sessions. It uses movement as a means of communication to engage parents to play with their children in order to improve their relationships with each other. Participants learn to listen to themselves through moving.













Jan Filer Developmental Movement Therapy and Courses provide opportunities for the parents to grow as individuals alongside their children through shared dance and movement activities based upon the theory, philosophy and practice of Rudolf Laban (Thornton,1971), and incorporates Sherborne Developmental Movement (SDM; Sherborne, 2001) which is recognised as being highly effective not only for children with special educational needs but also for all individuals, whatever their ability.


Values of my work

The ethical framework within which I practice is reflected here in the values that underpin it


  • ALLEVIATING - personal distress and suffering

  • DIVERSITY - appreciating the variety of human experience and culture

  • ENABLING ALL PEOPLE (INCLUDING CHILDREN) - to develop emotionally, socially and academically to their full potential

  • ENHANCING THE QUALITY OF RELATIONSHIPS – between children, children and adults, and adults and adults

  • CREATIVE SPIRIT - encouraging individuality and innovation which fosters a ‘can do’ attitude

  • EQUITABLE & ADEQUATE PROVISION - of a range of creative play and art therapies for children and adults

  • INCREASING PERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS - of clients and practitioners

  • INTEGRITY - ensuring the integrity of practitioner-client relationships

  • KNOWLEDGE - enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application

  • QUALITY ASSURANCE - consciously applying quality assurance and clinical governance principles to all therapeutic work

  • RESPECT - respecting human rights and dignity

  • SENSE OF SELF - fostering a sense of self that is meaningful to the person(s) concerned

Working for well being and health of children, families and the people who work with them



How do we engage children in being emotionally and socially competent and what strategies can be employed to support children who have had disrupted education and family circumstances? Why are relationships so important? How do we support ourselves as professionals engaged in this work? With an understanding of the importance of following your heart and taking care of your mind, body and spirit, engaging in this work offer opportunities for the individual, groups or systems to find the support they need. It promotes an understanding of the importance of a work/life balance through therapy, education, parent support, training and presentations. Life comes at us at such a fast pace accompanied by experiences of trauma, loss, changes and stress. It’s critical to take a step back, think about yourself and survey your surroundings to take a breath, take a break and relax a little.



Janice Filer, Cert Ed, B Ed (Hons) M Phil, PG Dip Counselling, MSc in Counselling, Ph.D.; IQCL SDM


Other relevant qualifications

Narrative Therapy


Membership and Acreditations:


Approved Supervisor PTUK

Sherborne International Membership




Jan has over fifty years experience in education and therapeutic practice as a teacher, trainer, consultant, therapist in all areas of education and with all ages from birth to old age, from September 1971 – Present 



  • Physical Education Teacher

  • Early Year's Practioner/Nursery Teacher

  • Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo)

  • Behaviour Consultant, Counsellor, Developmental Movement Consultant/trainer of Continued Professional Development courses with a Local Authority Behaviour Improvement Service 

  • Consultant/Advisor to schools and colleges re Well-being, Emotional, Behavioural and Social Difficulties, Inclusion, Parent Support, Attachment Disorder, Domestic Violence and Abuse

  • Therapist for complex trauma, abuse, loss, etc.

  • Dance Movement therapist particularly regarding parent-child bonding, touch and relationships


September 2009 - Present

Visiting Lecturer - University of Bristol 
BSc Childhood Studies, Education, Schooling and Diversity, Early Childhood Studies

May 2011 - present

Visiting Lecturer - University of Plymouth 

B. Ed. SEN Physical Educational Course

International Motivational Speaker, International Course leader and trainer of Developmental Movement Therapy/Sherborne Developmental Movement

Combining practice of:

  • Researcher

  • Therapist

  • Author

  • Trainer

(Practitioner in Education and Therapy)


Approved Supervisor - Play Therapy United Kingdom

  • Supervisor to Early Year's based counselling practice

  • Supervisor to  Clifton, Henleaze Family Support Services

  • Supervisor to play therapists in educational settings and schools

  • Supervisor to Women's Aid, Newport

Early Year's Foundation Stage

Early Year's Consultant, Bristol Local Authority  2008 - 2012

Consultancy, Advice, Guidance, Supervision and CPD for Early Years practitioners re: well-being; child behaviour; practice

Specialist area:


  • Developmental Trauma

  • Trauma Aware Practice

  • Mental Health and well-being

  • Healthy Environments

  • Healthy Relationships with self and others

  • Personal, Social-Emotional Development

  • Attachment

  • Dealing with the most unacceptable behaviours

  • Health and well being, personal, emotional and professional development of staff

  • Key Person Role

  • Emotional Observation

Parent Support

Parent Educator/Facilitator Accredited to facilitate:

  • The Freedom Programme

  • Mellow Parenting,

  • Incredible Years (Webster-Stratton) Parent-child programmes (Webster-Stratton programme and Dinosaur School)

  • Triple P

  • Pyramid Parents

      (and many another current parent/ing programmes)

  • Southmead Family Support Project 

Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA)

Approved trainer of the NHS Domestic Abuse and Violence for Early Year's Practitioners

Member of North Bristol Domestic Abuse Forum

Approved Trainer of the Freedom Programme

Head Gymnastics Coach - Bristol Community Sport/SLM

September 1977 – April 2012 (34 years 8 months) Bristol, United Kingdom

Gymnastics for children from 3-16 years of age

Bridging the Gap Multi-Professional Project

1999 - 2002

Family Support Project for vulnerable families at risk of social exclusion, offending, substance misuse

including setting up and leading an Outdoor School, alternative provision, for primary aged pupils and their parents   

Move into Motion (MintoM) - Private Practices

  • Adapted Physical Activities - 1998 - Present

  • Outdoor and Forest School Activities

  • Dance Movement

  • Gymnastics

  • Parachute Play

  • Blanket Play

  • Top Sport

  • Top Dance

  • Top Outdoors

South West Educational and Therapeutic Services (SWETS)

Founder member/Associate - September 2012 - Present

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